Substance P expression correlates with severity of diarrhea in cryptosporidiosis

Prema Robinson, Pablo C. Okhuysen, Cynthia L. Chappell, Joel V. Weinstock, Dorothy E. Lewis, Jeffrey K. Actor, A. Clinton White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Cryptosporidiosis, caused by Cryptosporidium parvum, is self-limited in immunocompetent hosts but may cause chronic diarrhea in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Substance P (SP), a neuropeptide belonging to the tachykinin family, is expressed in gastrointestinal tract and can cause electrogenic chloride anion secretion. Therefore, we studied SP mRNA and protein expression in jejunal tissue samples of patients with AIDS with naturally occurring chronic cryptosporidiosis and healthy volunteers with mild cryptosporidiosis or asymptomatic infection after experimental C. parvum challenge. SP mRNA was associated with symptoms in cryptosporidiosis. SP protein levels were greater in symptomatic than asymptomatic volunteers. Similarly, greater expression of SP mRNA and protein were noted in patients with AIDS with chronic cryptosporidiosis versus immunocompetent volunteers with self-limited infection. This study demonstrates a direct correlation between SP levels and disease severity and may imply that SP plays a role in diarrhea mediation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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