To study the roles of substance P and endogenous neutral endopeptidase in mediating cough, we measured cough responses in awake guinea pigs in response to exogenous substance P and capsaicin aerosols in the presence and absence of the neutral endopeptidase inhibitors leucine-thiorphan and phosphoramidon. Substance P stimulated cough in very low concentrations (10(-17)-10(-16) M). In a second study where the investigator did not know whether substance P or diluent alone was aerosolized, substance P (10(-16) M) caused cough. Leucine-thiorphan (10(-5) M) and phosphoramidon (10(-5) M) potentiated substance P-induced cough; NEP inhibitors also potentiated capsaicin-induced cough significantly. These findings suggest that substance P is a potent stimulator of cough responses, that capsaicin-induced cough is mediated by substance P or another similar neuropeptide, and that cough responses are modulated by endogenous neutral endopeptidase.


H Kohrogi, P D Graf, K Sekizawa, D B Borson, J A Nadel


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