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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Mar;74(4):1005-13.

NK1 receptor-mediated mechanisms regulate colonic hypersensitivity in the guinea pig.

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Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research, Basic Science Laboratories, V.A. Medical Center, Research Administration Room 151, 921 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.


Neurokinin-1 (NK(1)) receptors activated by substance P (SP) are involved in the processing of nociceptive information and are a potential target for therapy of visceral pain. We have evaluated the role of NK(1) receptors using a selective antagonist of NK(1) receptors in two animal models of colorectal hypersensitivity. The behavioral response to colorectal distension was assessed in freely moving guinea pigs by recording visceromotor reflex contractions of the abdominal musculature. Colonic hypersensitivity was induced by intracolonic administration of a chemical irritant (0.6% of acetic acid), or by acute partial restraint stress. Sensitization was characterized by an exaggerated visceromotor response to a low level of colorectal distension (10 mm Hg). In both models of colonic hypersensitivity, oral administration of TAK-637 (0.1-10 mg/kg) normalized visceromotor responses. The intracerebroventricular (10 microg/kg) or intrathecal (10 microg/kg) administration of TAK-637 inhibited colonic hypersensitivity, suggesting an interaction with central NK(1) receptors. In contrast, TAK-637 had no effect on visceromotor responses to colorectal distension at 40 mm Hg in guinea pigs with normosensitive (nonsensitized) colons. In conclusion, central NK(1) receptors play a significant role in colonic hypersensitivity induced by visceral afferent nerve sensitization from gastrointestinal origin or acute psychosomatic stress, but not in the perception of colorectal distension in animals with normosensitive colons.

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