Vasoactive intestinal peptide and pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide inhibit tumor necrosis factor-alpha production in injured spinal cord and in activated microglia via a cAMP-dependent pathway. Academic Article uri icon

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  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production accompanies CNS insults of all kinds. Because the neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and the structurally related peptide pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) have potent anti-inflammatory effects in the periphery, we investigated whether these effects extend to the CNS. TNF-alpha mRNA was induced within 2 hr after rat spinal cord transection, and its upregulation was suppressed by a synthetic VIP receptor agonist. Cultured rat microglia were used to examine the mechanisms underlying this inhibition because microglia are the likely source of TNF-alpha in injured CNS. In culture, increases in TNF-alpha mRNA resulting from lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation were reduced significantly by 10(-7) m VIP and completely eliminated by PACAP at the same concentration. TNF-alpha protein levels were reduced 90% by VIP or PACAP at 10(-7) m. An antagonist of VPAC(1) receptors blocked the action of VIP and PACAP, and a PAC(1) antagonist blocked the action of PACAP. A direct demonstration of VIP binding on microglia and the existence of mRNAs for VPAC(1) and PAC(1) (but not VPAC(2)) receptors argue for a receptor-mediated effect. The action of VIP is cAMP-mediated because (1) activation of cAMP by forskolin mimics the action; (2) PKA inhibition by H89 reverses the neuropeptide-induced inhibition; and (3) the lipophilic neuropeptide mimic, stearyl-norleucine(17) VIP (SNV), which does not use a cAMP-mediated pathway, fails to duplicate the inhibition. We conclude that VIP and PACAP inhibit the production of TNF-alpha from activated microglia by a cAMP-dependent pathway.


  • Kim, WK
  • Kan, Y
  • Ganea, D
  • Hart, Robert
  • Gozes, I
  • Jonakait, GM

publication date

  • May 15, 2000

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