Author(s): Delgado M, MunozElias EJ, Kan Y, Gozes I, Fridkin M
Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), an early cytokine produced by activated macrophages, plays an essential role in normal and pathological inflammatory reactions. The excessive production of TNFalpha is prevented by the so-called "macrophage-deactivating factors." This study examines the role of two structurally related neuropeptides, the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP), as inhibitors of TNFalpha. Both VIP and PACAP inhibit TNFalpha production from lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 246.7 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Although the activated cells express mRNA for all three VIP/PACAP receptors, agonist and antagonist studies indicate that the major receptor involved is VIP1R. VIP/PACAP inhibit TNFalpha gene expression by affecting both NF-kB binding and the composition of the cAMP responsive element binding complex (CREB/c-Jun). Two transduction pathways, a cAMP-dependent and a cAMP-independent pathway, are involved in the inhibition of TNFalpha gene expression and appear to differentially regulate the transcriptional factors involved. Because TNFalpha plays a central role in various inflammatory diseases such as endotoxic shock, multiple sclerosis, cerebral malaria, and various autoimmune conditions, the down-regulatory effect of VIP/PACAP may have a significant therapeutic potential.