Slightly over half a century ago, while working on the acetylcholine content of tissue extracts, von Euler and Gaddum (1931) obtained an active compound from alcoholic extracts of equine intestine and brain that when injected intravenously, caused a fall in blood pressure in rabbits and a contraction of the isolated rabbit intestine. As these effects were not prevented by atropine, they suspected that the compound was pharmacologically distinct from acetylcholine. This crude extract acquired the term “substance P” from the working description given to the active compound in the laboratory of the original investigators, and this usage has since persisted in the literature.


Dorsal Root Ganglion Dorsal Horn Myenteric Plexus Membrane Resistance Dorsal Horn Neuron 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1985

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