Biochemical, histochemical and neurophysiological data suggest that substance P and somatostatin are neurotransmitters for primary afferent neurons. This study used intrathecal administration of these peptides and others (neurotensin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide) in chronically catheterized, environmentally adapted, freely moving rats to evaluate their effects on unconditioned behavior. Substance P and somatostatin each elicited behaviors which were dose related. The behaviors included caudally directed biting and licking along with hindlimb scratching, writhing and retching. The behavioral responses were rapid in onset (1 min) and, in the case of substance P, short in duration (3 min). Vehicle, neurotensin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide were without effect. These results demonstrate the ability of substance P and somatostatin to induce behavior in rats upon intrathecal administration and extend previous studies in mice.
- Substance P