Substance P and related tachykinins contribute to the airway hyperresponsiveness caused by toluene diisocyanate (TDI) in guinea pigs. Neutral endopeptidase (NEP) is an important modulator of substance P-induced responses. To test the hypothesis that exposure to TDI would increase responsiveness to substance P by inhibiting activity of this enzyme, we determined the dose of substance P required to increase pulmonary resistance by 200% above baseline (PD200) before and after administration of the pharmacologic inhibitor phosphoramidon in guinea pigs studied 1 h after a 1-h exposure to air or 3 ppm TDI. TDI exposure increased responsiveness to substance P significantly. However, phosphoramidon caused a significantly greater leftward shift of the substance P dose-response curve in air-exposed animals than it did in TDI-exposed animals, so that after phosphoramidon, mean values of PD200 in animals exposed to air or TDI did not differ. Tracheal NEP activity was significantly less after exposure to TDI than after exposure to air, whereas activity in the esophagus was the same in both groups. These results suggest that TDI exposure increases the bronchoconstrictor responsiveness of guinea pigs to substance P, in large part through inhibition of airway NEP.
D Sheppard, J E Thompson, L Scypinski, D Dusser, J A Nadel, D B Borson