Effects of substance P on mesenteric lymphatic contractility in the rat. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Substance P (SP) is associated with lymphatic tissue and is a putative mediator of inflammation. The lymph pump is one of the major "safety factors" preventing edema and its activity is altered by inflammatory mediators. The impact of SP on lymphatics was studied in the rat mesentery. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rats were prepared for in situ lymphatic observation using intravital videomicroscopic techniques. Sections of the small intestine and mesentery were exteriorized and superfused. Lymphatic diameters were measured and pumping activity was determined from the lymphatic diameter tracing. Lymph pump parameters evaluated included diastolic diameter, systolic diameter, contraction frequency, stroke volume, and lymph pump flow. After a control period, the tissues were exposed to SP (10(-9), 10(-8), 10(-7), 10(-6) M). SP reduced both diameters and increased contraction frequency in a concentration-dependent manner. SP (1.0 microM) produced the following changes (% of control): reductions in diastolic diameter (50%), systolic diameter (55%), and stroke volume (63%); a large increase in contraction frequency (661%); and a modest increase in lymph pump flow (44%). SP also stimulated vessels that were not contracting phasically to develop typical contraction patterns. CONCLUSIONS: Although SP produced a tonic constriction of the lymphatics, lymph pump flow was maintained or slightly elevated via an increase in contraction frequency. SP also induced pumping activity in lymphatics that were previously quiescent, thereby further stimulating flow. These effects may serve to minimize the formation of edema in face of the inflammatory edemagenic conditions produced by SP.

published proceedings

  • Lymphat Res Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Amerini, S., Ziche, M., Greiner, S. T., & Zawieja, D. C.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Amerini, Sandra||Ziche, Marina||Greiner, Steven T||Zawieja, David C

publication date

  • March 2004