Substance P released by TRPV1-expressing neurons produces reactive oxygen species that mediate ethanol-induced gastric injury

David Gazzieri, Marcello Trevisani, Jochen Springer, Selena Harrison, Graeme S. Cottrell, Eunice Andre, Paola Nicoletti, Daniela Massi, Sandra Zecchi, Daniele Nosi, Marco Santucci, Norma P. Gerard, Monica Lucattelli, Giuseppe Lungarella, Axel Fischer, Eileen F. Grady, Nigel W. Bunnett, Pierangelo Geppetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although neurokinin 1 receptor antagonists prevent ethanol (EtOH)-induced gastric lesions, the mechanisms by which EtOH releases substance P (SP) and SP damages the mucosa are unknown. We hypothesized that EtOH activates transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) on sensory nerves to release SP, which stimulates epithelial neurokinin 1 receptors to generate damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS). SP release was assayed in the mouse stomach, ROS were detected using dichlorofluorescein diacetate, and neurokinin 1 receptors were localized by immunofluorescence. EtOH-induced SP release was prevented by TRPV1 antagonism. High dose EtOH caused lesions, and TRPV1 or neurokinin 1 receptor antagonism and neurokinin 1 receptor deletion inhibited lesion formation. Coadministration of low, innocuous doses of EtOH and SP caused lesions by a TRPV1-independent but neurokinin 1 receptor-dependent process. EtOH, capsaicin, and SP stimulated generation of ROS by superficial gastric epithelial cells expressing neurokinin 1 receptors by a neurokinin 1 receptor-dependent mechanism. ROS scavengers prevented lesions induced by a high EtOH dose or a low EtOH dose plus SP. Gastric lesions are caused by an initial detrimental effect of EtOH, which is damaging only if associated with TRPV1 activation, SP release from sensory nerves, stimulation of neurokinin 1 receptors on epithelial cells, and ROS generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-589
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2007


  • Ethanol
  • Gastric lesions
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Substance P
  • TRPV1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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