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Neuroscience. 2000;101(4):1137-44.

Detection of substance P and its receptor in human fetal microglia.

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Division of Immunologic and Infectious Diseases, Joseph Stokes Jr. Research Institute at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Substance P, the most abundant neurokinin in the CNS, is a major modulator of the immune system. We have examined the gene expression of substance P and its receptor in human fetal brain microglia. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Southern blotting assay, the four isoforms of preprotachykinin-A gene transcripts (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) were detected in the microglia. The human fetal microglia produced significantly higher levels of endogenous substance P protein (640-850 pg/10(6) cells) than did human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophages (25-50 pg/10(6) cells), as determined by an enzyme immunoassay. Using immunohistochemical staining with an anti-substance P antibody, cell membrane substance P immunoreactivity was observed. In addition, we identified the presence of messenger RNA for neurokinin-1 receptor, a primary receptor for substance P in human fetal microglia.From these data, we propose that substance P and its receptor are biologically involved in regulating the functions of microglia, and potentially play an important role in host defense of the central nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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