Tachykinins: Role in Human Gastrointestinal Tract Physiology and Pathology

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Tachykinins (TKs) and their receptors (NK1, NK2 and NK3), which are diffusely expressed in the human gastrointestinal tract, represent an endogenous modulator system regulating enteric secretomotor functions, inflammatory and immune responses, and visceral hypersensitivity, mainly during pathological gut diseases. Pathophysiological implications of TKs in the digestive tract include changes in TK innervation, in the expression of TKs and TK receptors, which result in inflammation- and immune-induced disturbances of gut functions, such as dysmotility (diarrhoea/constipation), secretory diarrhoea and visceral hyperalgesia. Increasing evidence correlates all these TKergic system abnormalities with gastrointestinal diseases of different etiology (i.e. inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome). Accordingly, TK receptors have been identified as novel targets for the development of new therapeutic agents for clinical use. Available preclinical findings have shown that TK antagonists could counteract the most significant symptoms characterizing these gut diseases.

Keywords: Irritable bowel syndrome; idiopathic chronic constipation; immunoreactivity; neurokinin A; peristalsis; pyloric sphincter

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dipartimento di Fisiologia Umana e Farmacologia"V. Erspamer", Universita di Roma "La Sapienza", P.le A. Moro, 5 - 00185 Roma, Italia.

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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