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Brain Res. 2008 Nov 19;1241:29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.09.035. Epub 2008 Sep 20.

PACAP and VIP prevent apoptosis in schwannoma cells.

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Department of Anatomy, Diagnostic Pathology, Legal Medicine, Hygiene and Public Health, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.


Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) are structurally endogenous peptides showing rich profile of biological activities. These peptides bind specific membrane receptors belonging to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors, the PAC1 and VPAC type receptors. Although these receptors have been identified in oligodendrocytes progenitors cells, to date the effects of PACAP and VIP in Schwann cells are still unknown. In the present study we investigated the expression of these neuropeptides as well as their receptors in a schwannoma cell line. RT-PCR and western blot analysis demonstrated that both PAC1 and VPAC2 receptors, but also PACAP peptide were expressed. To study the physiological effects mediated by PAC1/VPAC receptors, we evaluated their role in preventing apoptotic cell death induced by serum deprivation. Treatment with 100 nM PACAP38 and 100 nM VIP increased survival of serum-deprived schwannoma cells. Anti-apoptotic effects of these peptides were correlated to changes in BCL2 and BAX gene expression. Our results suggested that both PACAP38 and VIP could act as trophic factors in Schwann cells.

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