Journal Papers Neurokinin 1 receptor and relative abundance of the short and long isoforms in the human brain.


Substance P exerts its various biochemical effects mainly via interactions through neurokinin-1 receptors (NK1). Recently, the NK1 receptor has attracted considerable interest for its possible role in a variety of psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety. However, little is known regarding the anatomical distribution of NK1 in the human central nervous system (CNS). Riboprobe in situ hybridization, quantitative PCR and in vitro autoradiography were performed. Highest NK1 mRNA levels were localized in the locus coeruleus and ventral striatum, while moderate hybridization signals were observed in the cerebral cortex (most abundant in the visual cortex), hippocampus and different amygdaloid nuclei. Very low levels of the NK1 mRNA were detected in the cerebellum and thalamus. In view of the existence of a long and short isoform of the NK1 receptor, it was of interest to assess whether there was a differential distribution of the two splice variants in the human CNS and peripheral tissues. A quantitative TaqMan PCR analysis showed that the long NK1 isoform was the most prevalent throughout the human brain, while in peripheral tissues the truncated form was the most represented. 3H-Substance P autoradiography revealed a good correlation between receptor binding sites and NK1 mRNA expression throughout the brain, with the highest levels of binding in the locus coeruleus. These results provide the anatomical evidence that the NK1 receptors have a strong association with neuronal systems relevant to mood regulation and stress in the human brain, but do not suggest a region-specific role of the two isoforms in the CNS.

Paper Details


L. Caberlotto,  Y. Hurd,  P. Murdock,  J. Wahlin ,  S. Melotto,  M. Corsi,  R. Carletti


Eur J Neurosci. , 17, , 1736-46