Brain research

Differential ability of tachykinin NK-1 and NK-2 agonists to produce scratching and grooming behaviours in mice.

PMID 7522932


Potent and selective NK-1 and NK-2 agonists as well as compounds with lower selectivity and affinity for NK-1 binding sites were compared in their ability to produce scratching and grooming behaviours when injected intracerebroventricularly in mice. Septide, an agonist with a low affinity for NK-1 binding sites, [Sar9, Met(O2)11]SP and to a lesser extent [Pro9]SP, two potent and selective NK-1 agonists were the most effective drugs in stimulating these behaviours. Only high doses of [Apa9,10]SP and [Lys5, Tyr7, Pro8]NKA(4-10), two agonists with low affinity for NK-1 binding sites, produced scratching and grooming responses. Similarly, only high doses of [Lys5, MeLeu9, NLe10]NKA(4-10), a potent NK-2 agonist, produced grooming behaviour. When coinjected with the endopeptidase enzyme inhibitor phosphoramidon, the effects of [Apa9,10]SP, [Lys5, Tyr7, Pro8]NKA(4-10) and [Pro9]SP were markedly enhanced. Analyses of the potency of the different agents to displace 3H-SP binding in mouse subcortical structures revealed that the affinities of the agonists for NK-1 receptors are similar to those previously reported in rat brain. The efficacy of the agonists at producing behavioural responses was not equivalent to their potency to bind to central NK-1 receptors. These findings therefore suggest that a stimulation of NK-1 but also non classical NK-1 receptors are involved in the induction of scratching and grooming behaviours.