1. The present review describes the actions of sensory neuropeptides on the contractility of the rat and guinea-pig prostate gland and discusses the differences in sensitivity of the smooth muscle of the prostates taken from these species to these neuropeptides.
2. Nerve fibres immunoreactive for the tachykinins substance P and neurokinin A, as well as for the sensory neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), are sparsely distributed throughout the fibromuscular stroma of the prostate gland in both the rat and guinea-pig.
3. In functional experiments, tachykinin agonists potentiate electrical field stimulation-induced contractile responses of prostates taken from guinea-pigs, but have no effect on those taken from rats. This potentiation is through stimulation of tachykinin NK1-receptors.
4. Conversely, CGRP inhibits electrical field stimulation-induced contractile responses of prostates taken from rats, but has no effect on those taken from guinea-pigs.
5. It is concluded that although the sensory innervation to the prostate glands of the rat and guinea-pig appears similar, the nature and sensitivity of the contractile response of the prostatic smooth muscle to applied sensory neuropeptides is vastly different in the two species.