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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Nov 20;98(24):13854-9. Epub 2001 Nov 6.

Enhanced delayed-type hypersensitivity and diminished immediate-type hypersensitivity in mice lacking the inducible VPAC(2) receptor for vasoactive intestinal peptide.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Immunology, University of California Medical Center, San Francisco, CA 94143-071, USA.


Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and its G protein-coupled receptors, VPAC(1)R and VPAC(2)R, are prominent in the immune system and regulate many aspects of T cell-dependent immunity. In mouse T cells, VPAC(1)R is expressed constitutively, whereas VPAC(2)R is induced by immune stimuli. VPAC(2)R-null (VPAC(2)R(-/-)) mice on a C57BL/6 background are shown here to have normal basic immune characteristics, including serum Ig concentrations, blood levels of all leukocytes, and spleen number of total T cells (CD3(+)) and T cells bearing CD4, CD8, and CD28. Hapten-evoked cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) was significantly enhanced in VPAC(2)R-null mice compared with age- and sex-matched wild-type mice. In contrast, generation of IgE anti-hapten antibodies and active cutaneous anaphylaxis were > or =70% lower in VPAC(2)R-null mice than in wild-type controls. Cytokine production by splenic CD4(+) T cells, stimulated with adherent anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 antibodies, revealed higher levels of IL-2 (mean = 3-fold) and IFN-gamma (mean = 3-fold), and lower levels of IL-4 (mean = one-fifth) in VPAC(2)R-null mice than wild-type controls. Loss of VIP-VPAC(2)R maintenance of the normal ratio of Th2/Th1 cytokines thus leads to a state of enhanced DTH and depressed immediate-type hypersensitivity, which may alter both host defense and susceptibility to immune-mediated diseases.

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