Substance P induces ion secretion in mouse small intestine through effects on enteric nerves and mast cells

Am J Physiol. 1995 Jul;269(1 Pt 1):G85-92. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1995.269.1.G85.


We used genetically mast cell-deficient WBB6F1 W/Wv (W/Wv) mice and congenic WBB6F1 +/+ normal (+/+) mice to examine the role of mast cells in substance P-induced intestinal ion secretion. Isolated sheets prepared from segments of the midportion of the small intestine were studied in Ussing chambers. Substance P caused a dose-dependent increase in short-circuit current (Isc) that was approximately 50% less in intestine from W/Wv than from +/+ mice. Similar results were obtained for substance P-(4-11) (the COOH terminus) and substance P methyl ester [a selective neurokinin (NK)-1 agonist]. Histamine H1 or H2 antagonists reduced the Isc responses to substance P in intestine from +/+ mice but had no effect in intestine from W/Wv mice. In addition, reconstitution of intestinal mast cells in W/Wv mice by intravenous injection of +/+ bone marrow cells normalized the tissues' secretory responses to substance P or substance P methyl ester. However, in W/Wv and +/+ mice, the selective NK1 antagonist CP-96345 virtually abolished intestinal responses to substance P, and the responses were also markedly inhibited by neural blockade with tetrodotoxin. In contrast, in tetrodotoxin-pretreated intestine, histamine antagonism caused a further reduction in the responses to substance P only in +/+ mouse tissues. Taken together, our results suggest that the effects of substance P on intestinal Isc KN1 receptors but that the neuropeptide acts via effects on enteric nerves and mast cells. The data thus support the concept that mast cells and enteric nerves participate in the regulation of substance P-induced intestinal ion secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Enteric Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Histamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Ions
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Substance P / pharmacology*
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology


  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Ions
  • Substance P
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Atropine