Immunocytochemical Localization of Substance P Receptors (NK-1 Receptors) in Human Gingival Tissue

Fionnuala Lundy, Ikhlas El Karim, Philip Lamey, Gerard Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Substance P (SP) is a member of the structurally related family of neuropeptides known as the tachykinins. In addition to neurotransmitter roles, the tachykinins are also known to modulate local inflammation which depends on signalling between the neuropeptide molecules and target cells and tissues. SP mediates its effects through a specific receptor, known as the substance P receptor or the neurokinin 1 (NK-1) receptor. The NK-1 receptor is a G-protein associated integral membrane protein and although it has been studied in a wide range of tissues, to date there has been no published data on the localisation of the NK-1 receptor in human gingival tissue. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the distribution of the NK-1 receptor in human gingival tissue using immunocytochemistry. Method: Gingival tissue was obtained from patients undergoing periodontal surgery. Tissue was fixed in paraformaldehyde and embedded in wax for sectioning. Sections were dewaxed in xylene and then rehydrated in alcohols and phosphate buffered saline. Rehydrated sections were probed with rabbit polyclonal antibody to human NK-1 receptor which was subsequently detected using anti-rabbit horseradish peroxidase conjugate and diaminobenzidine as substrate. Results: Immunocytochemistry revealed that the NK-1 receptor was distributed along nerve fibres and blood vessel endothelial cells, suggesting these areas are main targets for the actions of SP via the NK-1 receptor. Conclusion: This is the first immunocytochemical report of NK-1 receptors in human gingival tissue and provides evidence for possible NK-1 mediated biological effects of SP in human gingival tissue from periodontitis patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)B384
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue numberB
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2003


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