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P038. Neuropeptide S: effects on motility, contractility and inflammation in the rat and human gastrointestinal tract

M.A. Halim1, L. Gillberg1, U. Karlbom2, M. Sundbom2, E. Rosenqvist3, S. Saudi3, M. Sjöblom3, A. Sommansson3, E. Näslund4, T. Feldreich1, D.-L. Webb1, P.M. Hellström1, 1Uppsala University, Medical sciences, gastroenterology & hepatology, Uppsala, Sweden, 2Uppsala University, Surgical sciences, surgery, Uppsala, Sweden, 3Uppsala University, Neuroscience, Physiology, Uppsala, Sweden, 4Karolinska Institutet, Clinical sciences, Danderyd hospital, Stockholm, Sweden


Neuropeptide S (NPS) is expressed by gastrointestinal (GI) enteroendocrine cells and macrophages in rat and man. Polymorphisms of the NPS receptor are linked to increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease as well as motor and sensory disturbances of the gut, suggesting a role for NPS in GI disorders. Further knowledge of NPS effects on motility and inflammation is needed.


Studies of motility were carried out in rats with electrodes implanted in the small bowel. NPS was infused IV for 60 min and effects on myoelectrical activity were recorded. Motility effects of NPS were further studied as luminal pressure changes in anaesthetized rats where the proximal small intestine with intact blood supply was perfused with saline for motility recordings. Tissue samples were obtained from rats for evaluation of gene expression and protein elaboration of inflammatory biomarkers. Muscle strips of the human stomach, small intestine and colon were used for pharmacological analysis in organ baths of motility responses to NPS. Localization of the NPS receptor was done with fluorescent-protein tagging using Cy3-NPS. Plasma levels of NPS were measured using ELISA in 5 healthy and 14 IBD patients before and after meal.


In conscious rats, NPS 1 nmol kg-1min-1 increased irregular spiking, 4 nmol kg-1min-1 reduced spiking and increased the MMC cycle length (P = 0.005). In anesthetized rats, NPS 0.01–1 nmol kg-1min-1 dose-dependently reduced small bowel motility (P < 0.001). In rats, NPS also increased the mRNA expression of iNOS, and CXCL1 and IL-1beta at the protein level. In human, fluorescent protein-tagging showed the NPS receptor primarily to be present in enolase-positive nerve fibers, but some scattered also in muscle tissue. In organ baths, NPS 1–100 nM caused TTX-dependent relaxations of the smooth muscle. We found no detectable levels of NPS in plasma of neither healthy subjects nor IBD patients.


NPS has a smooth muscle-relaxing effect in the GI tract and dampens myoelectrical and contractile motor activity of the small bowel. This is achieved primarily through an inhibition of nerve-mediated relaxation of smooth muscle cells. Circulating NPS levels in humans are undetectable in healthy subjects and in active IBD. This implies that NPS exerts its inhibitory function by a paracrine or neurocrine mechanism in the gut. NPS seems also capable of intervening with inflammation by increasing gut cytokines and iNOS expression.