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Kaibogaku Zasshi. 2000 Dec;75(6):487-507.

Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and its receptors in the brain.

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Department of Anatomy, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.


Recent progress in research on pituitary adenylate-activating polypeptide (PACAP) with a special emphasis on the brain is reviewed. PACAP is a pleiotropic neuropeptide that belongs to the secretin/glucagon/vasoactive intestinal peptide family. PACAP functions as a hypothalamic hormone, neurotransmitter, neuromodulator, and neurotrophic factor. Studies on the gene encoding the PACAP precursor and the specific PACAP receptor (PAC1-R) and its subtypes have provided information on the control of gene expression for PACAP, and the relationship between the receptor subtypes and the signal transduction pathways. The PAC1-R is a G protein-coupled receptor with seven transmembrane domains and belongs to the VIP receptor family. At least eight subtypes of PAC1-R result from alternate splicing. Each subtype is coupled to specific signaling pathways, and its expression is tissue or cell specific. PACAP stimulates the release of arginine vasopressin and increases cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i). PACAP serves as a neurotransmitter and/or neuromodulator and the activation of the PAC1-R stimulates a cAMP-protein kinase A signal transduction pathway which in turn evokes the [Ca2+]i signaling system. More importantly, PACAP is a neurotrophic factor that may play an important role during the development of the brain. The PAC1-R is actively expressed in different neuroepithelia from early developmental stages and expressed in various brain regions during prenatal and postnatal development. In the adult brain, PACAP appears to function as a neuroprotective factor that attenuates the neuronal damage resulting from various insults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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