The effects of substance P and met-enkephalin in dog ileum
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Substance P initiated tonic contraction of dog ileum when administered in doses from 1 pg to 20 micrograms intraarterially (ED50 = 67 ng). Low doses acted to excite cholinergic postganglionic neurones since atropine or tetrodotoxin (TTX) increased the ED50 of substance P about 25-fold, while hexamethonium and local field stimulation had only a small effect to increase the ED50. Also atropine and tetrodotoxin effects were not additive. Higher doses apparently acted to stimulate smooth muscle directly, but no evidence was obtained that local field stimulation could release substance P to act on smooth muscle. Substance P tachyphylaxis prevented substance P actions on cholinergic nerves, but it did not affect responses to intraaterial acetylcholine or block distal inhibition from proximal distention or field stimulation. Met-enkephalin given intraarterially, was also excitatory in doses from 1 ng to 20 micrograms; the amplitude of tonic and phasic contractions produced was significantly decreased by TTX and atropine but was not diminished by hexamethonium or substance P tachyphylaxis. Partial tachyphylaxis to met-enkephalin was produced but was not diminished by hexamethonium or substance P tachyphylaxis. Partial tachyphylaxis to met-enkephalin was produced without affecting the ED50 for substance P. We conclude that substance P acts in small amounts on receptors in myenteric nerves to release acetylcholine by a mechanism, presumably involving postganglionic cholinergic nerves, while met-enkephalin also apparently may act at least in part through a similar TTX- and atropine-sensitive mechanism. These peptides also caused activation of other receptors, probably on smooth muscle by noncholinergic. TTX-insensitive mechanisms. Also the receptors for each peptide which are located on nerves were distinct and independent since tachyphylaxis could be produced to each without affecting the response to the other.
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