Capsaicin pretreatment modifies hydrogen ...

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Title Capsaicin pretreatment modifies hydrogen sulphide-induced pulmonary injury in rats
Author(s) M. Prior, F. Green, Alfonso Lopez, A. Balu, G. T. De Sanctis, G. Fick
Journal Toxicologic Pathology
Date 1990
Volume 18
Issue 2
Start page 279
End page 288
Abstract One of the major target organs of hydrogen sulphide gas is the lung. Exfoliation of upper respiratory epithelia and pulmonary edema are prominent effects. Various neuropeptides contained in afferent C-fibres are intimately associated with the epithelia of the conducting airways and are liberated upon exposure to noxious gases. We sought to determine their role in the pathogenesis of hydrogen-sulphide-induced pulmonary injury by pretreating rats with the neurotoxin, capsaicin, which is known to ablate a subpopulation of vagal afferent C-fibres. Groups of capsaicin and saline (control) pretreated Fischer 344 rats were exposed to an edemogenic concentration of hydrogen sulphide (525-559 mg/m3) for 4 hr. Mortality was significantly greater (p less than 0.01) in the capsaicin treated rats (12/12) compared to the control animals (2/12). Pulmonary injury was also more severe in the capsaicin pretreated animals as assessed by lung water content, histological grade of pulmonary edema and protein in the broncho-alveolar fluid. Animals depleted of substance P exhibited a significantly greater (p less than 0.01) degree of bronchial epithelial cell exfoliation and ulceration following exposure to hydrogen sulphide. These experiments indicate that capsaicin sensitive sensory nerves may play a major role in pulmonary defense against the effects of inhaled toxic gases such as hydrogen sulphide.

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