Secretoneurin is released into human airways by topical histamine but not capsaicin.
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BACKGROUND: The neuropeptide secretoneurin, with potential relevance to leukocyte trafficking, is present in nerves of the nasal mucosa in allergic rhinitis and may be released in response to allergen and histamine exposure. There is no information on the occurrence and mechanisms of release of secretoneurin in healthy human airways. METHODS: The presence of secretoneurin in nasal biopsies and its release in response to nasal capsaicin and histamine challenges were examined. Symptoms and lavage fluid levels of fucose were recorded as markers of effects in part produced by neural activity. Bronchial histamine challenges followed by sputum induction and analysis of secretoneurin were also carried out. RESULTS: Nerves displaying secretoneurin immunoreactivity abounded in the nasal mucosa. Nasal capsaicin challenge produced local pain (P <0.05) and increased the levels of fucose (P <0.05), but failed to affect the levels of secretoneurin. Nasal histamine challenge produced symptoms (P <0.05) and increased the mucosal output of secretoneurin (P <0.05) and fucose (P <0.05). Bronchial histamine challenge increased the sputum levels of secretoneurin (P <0.05). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that secretoneurin is present in healthy human airways and that histamine evokes its release in both nasal and bronchial mucosae. The present observations support the possibility that secretoneurin is involved in histamine-dependent responses of the human airway mucosa.