Bronchial epithelial cells release neutrophil chemotactic activity in response to tachykinins

S. G. Von Essen, S. I. Rennard, D. O'Neill, R. F. Ertl, R. A. Robbins, S. Koyama, I. Rubinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), and neurokinin B (NKB) induce the release of neutrophil chemotactic activity (NCA) from bovine bronchial epithelial cells (BBEC) and whether neutral endopeptidase (NEP), a membrane-bound metalloenzyme that hydrolyzes tachykinins, modulates these effects. BBEC monolayers were exposed to SP, NKA, and NKB in the absence or presence of phosphoramidon (10-6 M), a selective NEP inhibitor, for 72 h. Using a modified blind-well in vitro neutrophil chemotaxis assay, we found that tachykinin-exposed BBEC culture supernatant fluids induced significant neutrophil chemotaxis compared with supernatants obtained from unstimulated BBEC. Maximal effect was observed after 48 h of incubation and at SP concentration of 10-13 M [92 ± 3 (SP) vs. 64 ± 2 (media) cells/high-power field (HPF), mean ± SE, n = 7, P < 0.05]. Release of NCA was mediated by the COOH-terminal of the SP molecule. The rank order of potency of tachykinins in inducing release of NCA was SP > NKA = NKB. SP-induced response was significantly potentiated by phosphoramidon (109 ± 3 vs. 92 ± 3 cells/HPF, n = 7, P < 0.05), whereas other proteinase inhibitors had no effect. The released NCA was composed of protein and lipid-soluble components. These data indicate that mammalian tachykinins induce the release of NCA from BBEC and that NEP modulates these effects. We suggest that tachykinins regulate neutrophil recruitment into the lower respiratory tract, in part, by inducing the release of NCA from airway epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L226-L231
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number2 7-2
StatePublished - 1992


  • airway
  • inflammation
  • neurokinin A
  • neurokinin B
  • neutral endopeptidase
  • proteinase inhibitors
  • proteinases
  • substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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