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      Neonatal Capsaicin Treatment Affects Rat Thymocyte Proliferation and Cell Death by Modulating Substance P and Neurokinin-1 Receptor Expression

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          Herein we provide evidence that substance P (SP) and its neurokinin-1 receptor (NK-1R) expressed on thymocytes counteract thymus depletion induced by neonatal capsaicin (CPS) treatment by affecting thymocyte proliferation and apoptotic death. SP administration reversed the CPS-mediated inhibitory effects on the total thymocyte number and subset distribution, namely CD4+ and CD4– CD8– cells, through its interaction with NK-1R as shown by concomitant NK-1R (SR140333) antagonist administration. SP-induced enhancement of thymus cellularity parallels its ability of inhibiting the thymocyte apoptotic program. Indeed, exogenously administered SP completely nullified CPS-induced apoptosis, and SR140333 abrogated the SP-mediated protective effect. SP administration also stimulated concanavalin A (Con A)-induced thymocyte proliferation of CPS-treated rats, completely reversing the CPS-induced inhibition. The SP-mediated stimulation of Con A-induced thymocyte proliferation was NK-1R dependent as shown by concomitant administration of SP and SR140333 to CPS-treated rats. Our results also demonstrate that CPS treatment induces a marked decrease of thymocyte PPT-A mRNA level and endogenous SP content as evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR, in situ hybridization and cytofluorimetric analysis. By contrast, NK-1R mRNA levels were increased in thymocytes from CPS-treated rats. Exogenous SP administration augmented PPT-A, SP and NK-1R thymocyte expression in CPS-treated rats, and this enhancement was antagonized by SR140333 administration. Overall, our results strongly suggest that the immunomodulatory effects of neonatal CPS treatment on rat thymocyte functions are dependent on vanilloid-mediated regulation of SP and NK-1R functional expression by neuronal and immune cells.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Local effector functions of capsaicin-sensitive sensory nerve endings: involvement of tachykinins, calcitonin gene-related peptide and other neuropeptides.

           Mike P Holzer (1988)
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            Capsaicin-induced apoptosis in SK-Hep-1 hepatocarcinoma cells involves Bcl-2 downregulation and caspase-3 activation.

            Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most lethal malignancies and there is no effective preventive measure in this highly malignant disease to date. In the present study, we investigated the chemopreventive potential of capsaicin (8-methyl-N- vanillyl-6-nonenamide), the principal pungent ingredient found in hot red pepper, in SK-Hep-1 hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Treatment of capsaicin inhibited growth of SK-Hep-1 cells in a concentration-dependent manner while 4-methoxy capsaicin (Met-capsaicin) was less potent. This inhibitory effect of capsaicin on SK-Hep-1 cell growth was mainly due to the induction of apoptosis as evidenced by DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation. Furthermore, capsaicin prominently reduced the ratio of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 to pro-apoptotic Bax and consequently increased caspase-3 activity. These results demonstrate that capsaicin efficiently induced apoptosis in SK-Hep-1 cells through a caspase-3-dependent mechanism, which may contribute to its chemopreventive function.
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              In vitro and in vivo biological activities of SR140333, a novel potent non-peptide tachykinin NK1 receptor antagonist.

              (S)1-(2-[3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1-(3-isopropoxyphenylacetyl)pip eridin-3- yl]ethyl)-4-phenyl-1-azoniabicyclo[2.2.2]octane chloride (SR140333) is a new non-peptide antagonist of tachykinin NK1 receptors. SR140333 potently, selectively and competitively inhibited substance P binding to NK1 receptors from various animal species, including humans. In vitro, it was a potent antagonist in functional assays for NK1 receptors such as [Sar9,Met(O2)11]substance P-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation of rabbit pulmonary artery and contraction of guinea-pig ileum. Up to 1 microM, it had no effect in bioassays for NK2 ([beta Ala8]neurokinin A-induced contraction of endothelium-deprived rabbit pulmonary artery) and NK3 ([MePhe7]neurokinin B-induced contraction of rat portal vein) receptors. The antagonism exerted by SR140333 toward NK1 receptors was apparently non-competitive, with pD2' values (antagonism potency evaluated by the negative logarithm of the molar concentration of antagonist that produces a 50% reduction of the maximal response to the agonist) between 9.65 and 10.16 in the different assays. SR140333 also blocked in vitro [Sar9,Met(O2)11]substance P-induced release of acetylcholine from rat striatum. In vivo, SR140333 exerted highly potent antagonism toward [Sar9,Met(O2)11]substance P-induced hypotension in dogs (ED50 = 3 micrograms/kg i.v.), bronchoconstriction in guinea-pig (ED50 = 42 micrograms/kg i.v.) and plasma extravasation in rats (ED50 = 7 micrograms/kg i.v.). Finally, it also blocked the activation of rat thalamic neurons after nociceptive stimulation (ED50 = 0.2 micrograms/kg i.v.).

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                April 2004
                14 April 2004
                : 11
                : 3
                : 160-172
                aDepartment of Pharmacological Sciences and Experimental Medicine, University of Camerino, Camerino, and bDepartment of Experimental Medicine and Pathology and cDepartment of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, University ‘La Sapienza’, Rome, Italy
                76765 Neuroimmunomodulation 2004;11:160–172
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, References: 58, Pages: 13
                Original Paper


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