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Endocrinology. 1985 Jun;116(6):2528-35.

Peptide specificity for stimulation of corticotropin secretion: activation of overlapping pathways by the vasoactive intestinal peptide family and corticotropin-releasing factor.


The hypothalamic peptide vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) stimulates ACTH and endorphin secretion by the AtT20/D16 clonal strain of mouse pituitary tumor cells. The dose dependence for VIP stimulation of hormone release is biphasic, indicating that VIP is able to activate at least two classes of receptors in D16 cells (ED50 = 1.6 and 160 nM). We show that at high concentrations (ED50 greater than or equal to 150 nM), other natural peptides with primary structures homologous to that of VIP also increased ACTH secretion by D16 cells, whereas structurally unrelated peptides did not. The stimulatory actions of GH-releasing factor (GRF) and porcine heptacosapeptide with amino-terminal histidine and carboxy-terminal isoleucine amide (PHI) were mediated by high affinity VIP receptors because their effects were not additive with that of 10 nM VIP. In addition, GRF and PHI behaved as antagonists at low affinity VIP receptors; both peptides inhibited stimulation by 1 microM VIP. In contrast, glucagon and gastric inhibitory polypeptide appeared to stimulate ACTH release via low affinity VIP receptors because their effects were additive with that of 10 nM, but not 1 microM, VIP. Since all of the VIP-like peptides increased ACTH secretion only at high concentrations, they were unlikely to represent a physiological ligand for the receptor activated by high concentrations of VIP. Therefore, we determined whether cross-reactivity occurred between VIP-like peptides and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a potent stimulator of ACTH secretion both in vitro and in vivo. The dose-response curve for CRF stimulation of ACTH secretion by D16 cells extended over more than a 1000-fold range of concentrations and was biphasic (ED50 = 2.6 and greater than 300 nM), indicating that CRF interacted with multiple receptor types in D16 cells. However, since the effect of 10 nM CRF was additive with that of 1 microM VIP, the CRF receptor was not the site at which high concentrations of VIP stimulated ACTH release. In contrast, the effect of 1 microM CRF was not additive with that of 1 microM VIP or other VIP-like peptides. Therefore, high concentrations of CRF and the previously recognized VIP-like peptides stimulated ACTH secretion by overlapping pathways. Comparison of the amino acid sequence of CRF with those of the VIP-like peptides showed that 18 of the 41 amino acids in CRF match a corresponding amino acid in at least 1 member of the VIP peptide family.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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