Neurotensin (NT) demonstrates ambiguous activity on inflammatory processes. The present study was undertaken to test the potential anti-inflammatory activity of NT in a murine model of non-atopic asthma and to establish the contribution of NTR1 receptors. Asthma was induced in BALB/c mice by skin sensitization with dinitrofluorobenzene followed by intratracheal hapten provocation. The mice were treated intraperitoneally with NT, SR 142948 (NTR1 receptor antagonist) + NT or NaCl. Twenty-four hours after the challenge, airway responsiveness to nebulized methacholine was measured. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lungs were collected for biochemical and immunohistological analysis. NT alleviated airway hyperreactivity and reduced the number of inflammatory cells in BALF. These beneficial effects were inhibited by pretreatment with the NTR1 antagonist. Additionally, NT reduced levels of IL-13 and TNF-α in BALF and IL-17A, IL12p40, RANTES, mouse mast cell protease and malondialdehyde in lung homogenates. SR 142948 reverted only a post-NT TNF-α decrease. NT exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in the hapten-induced asthma. Reduced leukocyte accumulation and airway hyperresponsiveness indicate that this beneficial NT action is mediated through NTR1 receptors. A lack of effect by the NTR1 blockade on mast cell activation, oxidative stress marker and pro-inflammatory cytokine production suggests that other pathways can be involved, which requires further research.
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