Peripheral osmo- and bradykinin-sensitive receptors which have been previously localised within the hepatic portal vein area, activate the hypothalamo-neuro-hypophysial system through a neural pathway projecting to the lower thoracic spinal cord. In this paper we attempted to identify the spinal transmitter(s) involved and to answer the question whether osmoreceptors are in fact chemosensitive nociceptors. The portal vein of anesthetised rats was superfused with 0.2ml of 4% NaCl or 1μM bradykinin, and hypothalamo-neurohypophysial responses were measured either electrophysiologically or by radioimmunoassay of arginine vasopressin. Responses to bradykinin, but not to hypertonic saline, were abolished in rats pretreated 2 wks previously with capsaicin s.c., and immunocytochemistry for substance P in these animals showed that substance P was strongly depleted both in the dorsal thoracic spinal cord and in the portal vein. The spinal injection of 8μl 0.1 mM capsaicin at T8-T9 elicited a pronounced hypothalamo-neurohypophysial response, and diminished reversibly the response to bradykinin superfusion of the portal vein. Spinal capsaicin had no effect on responses to hypertonic saline. Similarly, the spinal (T8-T9) injection of 8 μg substance P antagonist, the [d-Pro4, d-Trp7,9,10, Val8] substance P (4-11), reduced reversibly the responses to bradykinin by about 50% without affecting those to hypertonic saline. The spinal injection of 8 μg substance P, at the same site where substance P antagonist was applied, elicited within 4s a prolonged response (several min). A slightly longer delay between stimulus and neurophysiological response was observed for spinal capsaicin and for bradykinin superfusion. Responses to hypertonic saline superfusion of the portal vein, however, occurred within 1-2 s. The results show that portal vein osmoreceptors are distinct from chemo-sensitive nociceptors, and suggest that substance P may be a spinal mediator for chemo-sensitive portal vein nociceptors. The spinal transmitter for osmosensitive afferents, and the physiological importance of the portal vein area in chemosensation remain to be established. © 1984.
Stoppini, L., Barja, F., Mathison, R., & Baertschi, J. (1984). Spinal substance P transmits bradykinin but not osmotic stimuli from hepatic portal vein to hypothalamus in rat. Neuroscience, 11(4), 903–912. https://doi.org/10.1016/0306-4522(84)90201-X