Occurrence and distribution of neuropeptides in the human skin. An immunocytochemical and immunochemical study on normal skin and blister fluid from inflamed skin
Wallengren J, Ekman R, Sundler F
The content and distribution of substance P (SP), somatostatin, vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) in human skin were investigated. Radioimmunoassay was performed on pooled tissue samples from several regions (fingers, toes, axillas and thighs) and on tissue fluid from spontaneous blisters on inflamed skin. Immunocytochemical localization showed all peptides examined except somatostatin to be present in nerve fibers. Nerve fibers storing SP and CGRP, which were found to coexist, were mostly present as free nerve endings in the superficial part of dermis and in epidermis. SP/CGRP fibers were most abundant in fingers and toes. VIP fibers and NPY fibers were localized in the deeper parts of dermis around blood vessels and acini of sweat glands. Also fibers containing these neuropeptides were most common in fingertips and toes. VIP occurred in relatively high amounts also in skin from axilla whereas NPY in this region was below detection limit. Immunoreactive somatostatin was found in low concentrations in tissue extracts and was not present in amounts sufficient for reliable immunostaining. Fluid from spontaneous blisters on inflamed skin contained detectable amounts of all neuropeptides.