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Curr Pharm Des. 2004;10(12):1325-40.

Passage of VIP/PACAP/secretin family across the blood-brain barrier: therapeutic effects.

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  • 1Anadolu University, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Analytical Chemistry, 26470 Eskisehir, Turkey.


In recent years, VIP/PACAP/secretin family has special interest. Family members are vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), secretin, glucagon, glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP(1)), GLP(2), gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH or GRF), and peptide histidine methionine (PHM). Most of the family members present both in central nervous system (CNS) and in various peripheral tissues. The family members that are released into blood from periphery, especially gut, circulate the brain and they can cross the blood brain barrier. On the other hand, some of the members of this family that present in the brain, can cross from brain to blood and reach the peripheral targets. VIP, secretin, GLP(1), and PACAP 27 are transported into the brain by transmembrane diffusion, a non-saturable mechanism. However, uptake of PACAP 38 into the brain is saturable mechanism. While there is no report for the passage of GIP, GLP(2), and PHM, there is only one report that shows, glucagon and GHRH can cross the BBB. The passage of VIP/PACAP/secretin family members opens up new horizon for understanding of CNS effects of peripherally administrated peptides. There is much hope that those peptides may prove to be useful in the treatment of serious neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, AIDS related neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, autism, stroke and nerve injury. Their benefits in various pathophysiologic conditions undoubtly motivate the development of a novel drug design for future therapeutics.

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