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Regul Pept. 2002 Nov 15;109(1-3):199-208.

Immunoeffector and immunoregulatory activities of vasoactive intestinal peptide.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and its two G protein-coupled receptors, VPAC1R and VPAC2R, are prominent in the immune system and potently affect T cells and macrophages. VPAC1Rs are expressed constitutively by blood and tissue T cells, with an order of prevalence of Th2>Th1>>Ts, and transmit signals suppressive for migration, proliferation and cytokine production. Immune activation of T cells downregulates VPAC1Rs and upregulates VPAC2Rs. VPAC2Rs mediate T cell chemotaxis, stimulation of some Th2-type cytokines, and inhibition of some Th1-type cytokines. A tentative hypothesis that the VIP-VPAC2R axis is the major neuroregulator of Th2/Th1 balance has been confirmed by finding an increased ratio in CD4 T cells of transgenic (TG) mice, expressing high levels of VPAC2Rs, and a decreased ratio in CD4 T cells of VPAC2R-null (K/O) mice. VPAC2R TG mice exhibit an allergic phenotype, whereas the K/O mice are hypoallergic and have heightened delayed-type hypersensitivity. The mechanisms of VIP-VPAC2R effects include decreased Th2 apoptosis, increased Th2-type cytokine production, and greater generation of Th2 memory cells. VPAC2R antagonists are being developed to alleviate allergic diseases and strengthen effector Th1 cell-mediated immunoprotection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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