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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1997 May; 43(5): 493–499.
PMCID: PMC2042777

Intra-arterial substance P mediated vasodilatation in the human forearm: pharmacology, reproducibility and tolerability


Aims The current studies were designed to characterize the pharmacology, reproducibility and tolerability of the vasodilator response to intra-arterial substance P infusion in the forearm of healthy man.

Methods On different occasions, eight healthy male volunteers received brachial artery infusions of substance P at doubling doses ranging from 0.5 to 128 pmol min−1. Blood flow was measured in both arms using venous occlusion plethysmography.

Results Substance P induced dose-dependent vasodilatation in the human forearm which had a log-linear relationship to dose. At doses of 1–8 pmol min−1, mean responses were highly reproducible both within and between days. There were no differences between responses to discontinuous doses and continuous doses of substance P. Substance P was generally well tolerated at doses of ≤64 pmol min−1 with no significant alteration in arterial blood pressure or heart rate. Skin oedema in the infused forearm and systemic vasodilatation, manifested by facial flushing and non-infused forearm vasodilatation, occurred at doses of ≥16 pmol min−1.

Conclusions Forearm vasodilatation to substance P represents a reproducible and useful model in the assessment of peripheral endothelial cell NK1 receptor function.

Keywords: Substance P, vasodilatation, forearm plethysmography, pharmacodynamics, reproducibility, tolerability

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