Volume 41 (2005) Issue 5 Pages 257-270
The underlying mechanism involved in the interaction between neutrophil elastase inhibitors and tachykinins has not been elucidated. In this study we have examined the effects of sivelestat, a neutrophil elastase inhibitor, on the in vitro responses of airways from lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-untreated or -treated guinea-pigs to substance P. Substance P (0.01-30 μmol/l) produced concentration-dependent contractions of both tracheal and bronchial ring preparations of LPS-untreated or -treated guinea-pigs. Responsiveness to substance P in these isolated airway preparations was augmented by either epithelium removal or LPS treatment. In epithelium-intact tracheal ring preparations isolated from LPS-untreated guinea-pigs, sivelestat (100 μmol/l) significantly inhibited substance P-induced contractions. The inhibitory action was markedly attenuated by pretreatment with L-NAME (100 μmol/l) or indomethacin (2 μmol/l), and was almost undetected following removal of the epithelium. On the other hand, in bronchial ring preparations isolated from LPS-untreated guinea-pigs, sivelestat had only a very slight effect on substance P-induced contraction of the epithelium-intact preparation, whereas sivelestat greatly inhibited contraction in epithelium-removed bronchial ring preparations. In LPS-treated guinea-pigs, whether the epithelium was intact or not, sivelestat significantly inhibited the substance P-induced contraction of bronchial ring preparations. Pretreatment with L-NAME (100 μmol/l) or indomethacin (2 μmol/l) did not affect the inhibitory effect of sivelestat in bronchial ring preparations. In conclusion, epithelium removal or LPS treatment induced hyperreactivity to substance P in the guinea-pig airway. Sivelestat caused epithelium-, nitric oxide- and prostaglandin-dependent inhibition of the substance P-induced contraction of isolated guinea-pig tracheal ring preparations. In contrast, the inhibitory effect of sivelestat on substance P-induced contraction of guinea-pig bronchial ring preparations is mediated by epithelium-, nitric oxide- and prostaglandin-independent mechanisms. Sivelestat may be effective in reducing the airway hyperresponsiveness to tachykinins induced by epithelial injury as occurs in LPS-mediated inflammatory lung diseases.