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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neurokinin B is a paracrine vasodilator in the human fetal placental circulation.

Neurokinin (NK) B is a member of the tachykinin family of neurotransmitters, exerting hypotensive or hypertensive effects in the mammalian vasculature through synaptic release from peripheral neurons, according to either NK(1) and NK(2) or NK(3) receptor subtype expression, respectively. There is recent evidence that NKB is expressed by the syncytiotrophoblast of the human placenta, an organ that is not innervated. We hypothesized that NKB is a paracrine modulator of tone in the fetal placental circulation. We tested this hypothesis using the in vitro perfused human placental cotyledon. Our data show that NKB is a dilator of the fetal vasculature, causing a maximal 25.1 +/- 4.5% (mean +/- SEM; n = 5) decrease in fetal-side arterial hydrostatic pressure (5- microM NKB bolus; effective concentration in the circulation, 1.89 nM) after preconstriction with U-46619. RT-PCR demonstrated the presence of mRNA for NK(1) and NK(2) tachykinin receptors in the placenta. Using selective receptor antagonists, we found that NKB-induced vasodilation is through the NK(1) receptor subtype. We found no evidence for the involvement of either nitric oxide or prostacyclin in this response. This study demonstrates a paracrine role for NKB in the regulation of fetal placental vascular tone.[1]


  1. Neurokinin B is a paracrine vasodilator in the human fetal placental circulation. Brownbill, P., Bell, N.J., Woods, R.J., Lowry, P.J., Page, N.M., Sibley, C.P. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2003) [Pubmed]
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