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Scand J Gastroenterol. 1999 May;34(5):496-503.

Effect of substance P on histamine secretion from gut mucosa in inflammatory bowel disease.

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Dept. of Medicine I, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.



Mast cell hyperplasia in the gut is a feature of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but the role of mast cells in this disease is still unclear. Since mast cell-nerve interactions might have some impact on intestinal inflammation, the present study investigated whether the neuropeptide substance P causes histamine secretion from human gut mucosal mast cells.


Four hundred and eighteen colorectal endoscopic samples from 20 patients with IBD and 10 controls were studied. Colorectal biopsy samples were cultured in an oxygenated medium for spontaneous histamine release or were stimulated with substance P, anti-human immunoglobulin E, and a combination of substance P and anti-human immunoglobulin E. Histamine release was measured using a highly sensitive and specific radioimmunoassay.


Substance P failed to induce mast cell activation in histologically normal mucosa from controls. In contrast, mucosal specimens taken from inflamed IBD tissue or from uninvolved Crohn disease tissue showed a considerably enhanced rate of histamine secretion towards substance P, alone or in combination with anti-IgE. Unaffected mucosa with ulcerative colitis appeared insensitive towards substance P.


The neuropeptide substance P was shown to preferentially enhance mucosal mast cell mediator secretion in active IBD. Thus, it appears likely that mast cell-nerve interactions are involved in as yet uninvestigated neurovegetative histamine-releasing processes of the gut in IBD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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