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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1988;527:314-25.

Anatomical distribution of vasoactive intestinal peptide binding sites in peripheral tissues investigated by in vitro autoradiography.

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Department of Histochemistry, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide has a widespread distribution in the body, occurring in both the central and peripheral nervous systems and considerable information is available on its distribution, physiology, and pharmacological actions. Receptors for VIP have been demonstrated previously in peripheral tissues by conventional binding techniques using isolated membrane preparations. However, information on their precise localization is limited. We therefore localized binding sites in a variety of guinea pig and rat tissues by in vitro autoradiography and made a parallel study of the distribution of VIP nerves in these tissues using immunocytochemistry. [125I]VIP was prepared by the chloramine T method and shown to be pharmacologically active. After a preincubation procedure to remove endogenously bound VIP, unfixed cryostat sections were incubated with 1 nM [125I]VIP. To determine specific binding, sections were incubated in the presence or absence of 1 microM unlabeled VIP. Autoradiograms were generated by exposing the sections to LKB-Ultrofilm or emulsion-coated coverslips. Dense binding occurred in discrete locations within the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and genital tracts, correlating with known actions of VIP and, to various extents, with the distribution of VIP nerves. For example, there was precise localization to respiratory epithelium, smooth muscle of airways and blood vessels, and alveolar walls, in keeping with the effects of VIP on vascular and airway smooth muscle and mucus secretion.

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