Neurokinin 1 and 2 receptors are involved in PGE2- and citric acid-induced cough and ventilatory responses

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2022 Dec:306:103952. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2022.103952. Epub 2022 Jul 26.


Exposure to aerosolized citric acid (CA, 150 mM) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2, 0.43 mM) for 10 min in guinea pigs reportedly produces the distinct cough patterns (Type I vs. II) and ventilatory responses (long-lasting hyperventilation vs. brief tachypnea) even though triggering the same cough numbers. Type I and II coughs are primarily mediated by activation of TRPV1 and EP3 receptors (a PGE2 receptor) of vagal C-fibers respectively. Substance P (SP) and neurokinin A (NKA) released by vagal pulmonary sensory fibers peripherally are capable of affecting CA-induced cough and ventilation via preferentially activating neurokinin 1 and 2 receptors (NK1R and NK2R) respectively. This study aimed to define the impacts of CA- and PGE2-exposure on pulmonary SP and NKA levels and the roles of NK1R and NK2R in modulating CA- and PGE2-evoked cough and ventilatory responses. In unanesthetized guinea pigs, we determined: (1) pulmonary SP and NKA contents induced by the CA- or PGE2-exposure; (2) effects of CP-99994 and SR-48968 (a NK1R and a NK2R antagonist respectively) given by intraperitoneal injection (IP) or aerosol inhalation (IH) on the CA- and PGE2-evoked cough and ventilatory responses; and (3) immunocytochemical expressions of NK1R/NK2R in vagal C-neurons labeled by TRPV1 or EP3 receptors. We found that CA- and PGE2-exposure evoked Type I and II cough respectively associated with different degrees of increases in pulmonary SP and NKA. Applications of CP-99994 and SR-48968 via IP and IH efficiently suppressed the cough responses to CA with less impact on the cough response to PGE2. These antagonists inhibited or blocked the ventilatory response to CA and caused hypoventilation in response to PGE2. Moreover, NK1R and NK2R were always co-expressed in vagal C-neurons labeled by TRPV1 or EP3 receptors. These results suggest that SP and NKA endogenously released by CA- and PGE2-exposure play important roles in generating the cough and ventilatory responses to CA and PGE2, at least in part, via activation of NK1R and NK2R expressed in vagal C-neurons (pulmonary C-neurons).

Keywords: EP3; Hyperventilation; Neurokinin A; Substance P; TRPV1; Tachypnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzamides
  • Citric Acid / pharmacology
  • Cough / chemically induced
  • Dinoprostone
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Neurokinin A* / pharmacology
  • Piperidines
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2 / metabolism
  • Respiratory Aerosols and Droplets
  • Substance P* / pharmacology


  • Benzamides
  • Piperidines
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2
  • Citric Acid
  • Substance P
  • SR 48968
  • Neurokinin A
  • Dinoprostone