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The neurokinin receptors are G-protein-linked receptors; three distinct molecules, called neurokinin-1, neurokinin-2, and neurokinin-3 receptors, have been identified. Their physiological ligands are the tachykinins, which, in the mammalian gut, correspond to substance P, neurokinin A, and neurokinin B. In this apparatus, the main source of tachykinins is represented by intrinsic neurons located either in the myenteric plexus and projecting mainly to the muscle coat, or in the submucous plexus and projecting to the mucosa and submucosal blood vessels. The availability of specific antibodies has allowed identifying the sites of distribution of the neurokinin receptors in the gut, and important differences have been found among cell types and animal species. The complexity of the receptor distribution, either intraspecies or interspecies, is in agreement with the variegated picture coming out from physiological and pharmacological experiments. Interestingly, most of the knowledge on the tachykinin systems has been obtained from pathological conditions. Here, we tried to collect the main information available on the cellular distribution of the neurokinin receptors in the gut wall in the attempt to correlate their cell location with the several roles the tachykinins seem to play in the gastrointestinal apparatus.


Maria Giuliana Vannucchi, Stefano Evangelista. Neurokinin receptors in the gastrointestinal muscle wall: cell distribution and possible roles. Biomolecular concepts. 2013 Jun;4(3):221-31

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PMID: 25436578

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