Relationship between neurokinin-1 receptor and substance P in the striatum: light and electron microscopic immunohistochemical study in the rat.J Comp Neurol. 2000 Mar 06; 418(2):156-63.JC
The synaptic relationship between substance P (SP) and its receptor, i.e., neurokinin-1 receptor (NK1R), was examined in the striatum of the rat by confocal laser-scanning microscopy and electron microscopy. For confocal laser-scanning microscopy, triple-immunofluorescence histochemistry was performed to label NK1R, SP, and vesicular acetylcholine transporter (a specific marker for cholinergic neurons). In electron microscopic double-immunolabeling study, immunoreactivity for NK1R was detected with the silver-intensified gold method, while immunoreactivity for SP was detected with peroxidase immunohistochemistry. Simultaneous immunolabeling of NK1R and SP revealed significant mismatch at the synaptic level: although some SP-immunopositive axon terminals were in synaptic contact with NK1R-immunopositive sites of plasma membrane, NK1R-immunoreactivity was observed at both synaptic and non-synaptic sites of plasma membrane. Thus, SP released from the sites remote from NK1Rs might diffuse in the extracellular fluid to act, as a paracrine neurotransmitter, on NK1Rs distant from its releasing site. SP neurotransmission in the striatum might occur not only synaptically but also extrasynaptically. The SP-NK1R system might constitute an association system within the striatum.