The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of the neuromodulator substance P and its related tachykinin neurokinin A (NKA) in the homeostasis of respiratory activity. Respiratory activities, in form of fictive eupneic and sigh activities, were recorded extracellularly from the preBötzinger complex (PBC) in normoxic and anoxic conditions using medullary slice preparations. The effect of a blockade of endogenous substance P was assessed by an acute pharmacological blockade of the receptors with spantide in wild-type animals and by the use of preprotachykinin-A (PPT-A) mutants. These mutants lack from birth the PPT-A gene, which codes for the precursor of substance P and NKA. Spantide treatment reduced frequency (-37%, n = 9) and regularity (twofold) of eupneiclike respiratory activity under normoxic conditions, whereas in PPT-A mutants, eupneic-like activity was under normoxic conditions not significantly different from the wild-type mice (WT). The response to short anoxic episodes (5 min) was characterized in the WT by an increase in respiratory frequencies at the onset of anoxia (ratio anoxic/control frequency = 1.9 ± 0.2, n = 18). This anoxic ratio was unaltered in the presence of spantide (ratio = 2.3 ± 0.4, n = 8) but increased in the mutant (ratio = 4.1, n = 15). We conclude that endogenously released substance P is important for the maintenance of regular respiratory activity. Short-term blockade of substance P receptors decreases the frequency and regularity of rhythmic activity. Long-term deficiency in substance P leads to compensatory mechanisms that result in an apparently normal respiratory activity under normoxic conditions but a significantly altered response of the respiratory network during anoxia.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of neurophysiology|
|State||Published - Jul 22 2002|