Tissue-specific patterns of neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) gene expression in mice exposed to sidestream cigarette smoke

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R), a high-affinity plasma membrane-bound receptor for neurokinin substance P, plays important roles in the onset of the pathophysiological responses. To test whether the transcript levels of gene encoding NK-1R in organs are affected by sidestream cigarette smoke (SSCS) exposure, the C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to five groups (six/group) in a study of the dose-effect relationship. The mice were exposed to 0 (filtered room air), 2, 4, 8 and 16 mg total particulate matter (TPM) of SSCS/exposure/day, respectively, for seven days through a nose-only exposure chamber (IN-TOX, Albuquerque, NM, USA). The levels of NK-1R mRNA in the lung, heart, liver, kidney and spleen tissues were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques and normalized against GAPDH expression. NK-1R mRNA in heart tissue showed SSCS-induced dose-dependent downregulation, with minimum expression at a dose of 8.0 mg TPM. Whereas, the levels of NK-1R mRNA in the liver were upregulated to 2.86 and 5.13- fold after exposure to 2.0 and 4.0 mg TPM of SSCS respectively, then returned to 4.19 and 3.93-fold at the exposure doses of 8.0 and 16.0 mg TPM, respectively, when compared to that of the control. In the kidney, SSCS exposure at a dose of 2.0 TPM, but not higher than that level, induced significant elevation of NK-1R mRNA expression. These findings suggest that there are the paracrine and/or autocrine signalling mechanisms through receptor -ligand interactions. No alteration of NK-1R gene expression was observed in the lungs and spleen tissues in this study. The tissue-specific patterns by which SSCS affect NK-1R gene expression in these organs may partially explain dissimilarity of NK-1R activation and the associated toxicity caused by environmental tobacco smoke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-444
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • gene regulation
  • neurokinin-1 receptor
  • sidestream cigarette smoke
  • substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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