We investigated the effects of substance P (SP) on nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity in macrophages by measuring the production of nitrite and the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) mRNA and protein. In LPS-activated macrophages, SP stimulated NO production in time and concentration dependent manners. These SP effects were blocked by a specific NK-1 receptor antagonist. Furthermore, SP stimulation increased the levels of both iNOS mRNA and iNOS protein. These results demonstrate that SP can increase LPS induced NO production in macrophages by augmenting the induction of iNOS expression. We also examined the role of SP on acute-cold stress induced altered production of NO by mouse peritoneal macrophages. SP enhanced the LPS-induced macrophages NO production from stressed mice relative to the non-stressed mice. These results suggest that SP may have an important modulatory role in production of NO by macrophages.
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