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J Leukoc Biol. 2004 Jun;75(6):1122-30. Epub 2004 Mar 12.

VIP/PACAP oppositely affects immature and mature dendritic cell expression of CD80/CD86 and the stimulatory activity for CD4(+) T cells.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, 101 Warren St., Newark, NJ 07102, USA.


The neuropeptides vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) released within lymphoid organs from nerve terminals and/or immune cells play a significant, anti-inflammatory role by inhibiting macrophage-induced inflammatory reactions and promoting T helper cell type 2 (Th2) responses. However, dendritic cells (DC) and not macrophages often are the major antigen-presenting cells and link between innate and adaptive immunity. The role of VIP/PACAP in DC development and function is mostly unknown. Here, we report that bone marrow-derived DC express VIP/PACAP receptors and that VIP and PACAP exert a differential effect on immature DC (iDC) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated DC. In iDC, VIP/PACAP up-regulates CD86 expression and enables them to stimulate T cell proliferation and differentiation into Th2 effectors in vivo and in vitro. In contrast, VIP/PACAP down-regulates CD80/CD86 expression in LPS-stimulated DC and strongly reduces their capacity to stimulate T cell proliferation and secretion of Th1 and Th2 cytokines. The VIP/PACAP effects on iDC and LPS-stimulated DC are mediated primarily through the VIP receptor 1. These results indicate that neuropeptides such as VIP and PACAP can differentially affect the function of iDC and mature DC. In the absence of an ongoing immune response, VIP/PACAP contributes to the initiation of Th2-type immunity, whereas in the presence of a full-blown, inflammatory reaction, VIP/PACAP act as anti-inflammatory agents.

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