Substance P in human cerebrospinal fluid: Reductions in peripheral neuropathy and autonomic dysfunction

John G. Nutt, Edmund A. Mroz, Susan E. Leeman, Adrian C. Williams, W. King Engel, Thomas N. Chase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Substance P (SP), a putative peptide neurotransmitter, was measured in human lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by radioimmunoassay. Substance P-like immunoreactivity (SPLI) was present in the CSF of 18 neurologically normal adults in concentrations ranging from 2.9 to 11.1 fmol per milliliter, with a mean of 7.0 ± 0.6 fmol per milliliter (mean ± SE). Slightly more than half of the CSF-SPLI cochromatographed with synthetic SP on Sephadex G-25. There was no apparent gradient in CSF-SPLI concentration over the first 30 ml of CSF removed by lumbar puncture. Mean concentrations of CSF-SPLI in patients with Huntington disease, parkinsonism, miscellaneous dyskinesias, progressive supranuclear palsy, myopathy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis did not differ significantly from normal. Patients with neuropathy or multiple-system atrophy (Shy-Drager syndrome) had significantly reduced mean CSF-SPLI concentrations. These observations suggest that lumbar CSF-SPLI arises largely from spinal cord, nerve roots, or dorsal root ganglia, and that pathologic processes affecting these structures may be reflected by reduced levels of CSF-SPLI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1280-1285
Number of pages6
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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