Substance P and neutral endopeptidase in development of acute respiratory distress syndrome following fire smoke inhalation

Simon S. Wong, Nina N. Sun, R. Clark Lantz, Mark L. Witten

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20 Scopus citations


To characterize the tachykininergic effects in fire smoke (FS)-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), we designed a series of studies in rats. Initially, 20 min of FS inhalation induced a significant increase of substance P (SP) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) at 1 h and persisted for 24 h after insult. Conversely, FS disrupted 51.4, 55.6, 46.3, and 43.0% enzymatic activity of neutral endopeptidase (NEP, a primary hydrolyzing enzyme for SP) 1, 6, 12, and 24 h after insult, respectively. Immunolabeling density of NEP in the airway epithelium largely disappeared 1 h after insult due to acute cell damage and shedding. These changes were also accompanied by extensive influx of albumin and granulocytes/lymphocytes in BALF. Furthermore, levels of BALF SP and tissue NEP activity dose dependently increased and decreased, respectively, following 0, low (10 min), and high (20 min) levels of FS inhalation. However, neither the time-course nor the dose-response study observed a significant change in the highest affinity neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) for SP. Finally, treatment (10 mg/kg im) with SR-140333B, an NK-1R antagonist, significantly prevented 20-min FS-induced hypoxemia and pulmonary edema 24 h after insult. Further examination indicated that SR-140333B (1.0 or 10.0 mg/kg im) fully abolished early (1 h) plasma extravasation following FS. Collectively, these findings suggest that a combination of sustained SP and NEP inactivity induces an exaggerated neurogenic inflammation mediated by NK-1R, which may lead to an uncontrolled influx of protein-rich edema fluid and cells into the alveoli as a consequence of increased vascular permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L859-L866
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 31-4
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute lung injury
  • Neurogenic inflammation
  • Neurokinin-1 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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