Author(s): LaraMarquez ML, ODorisio MS, Karacay B
Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) binding sites have been identified in the human thymus, but the receptor subtype and how these receptors are distributed in the human thymus subsets is unknown. To assess gene expression, distribution, and receptor regulation of the two G-protein-associated VIP receptors, VPAC1 and VPAC2 mRNAs were quantified using a novel fluorometric-based kinetic (real-time) RT-PCR. Bulk and fractionated thymocytes were stimulated via the TCR/CD3 receptor complex and anti-CD28. Our results demonstrate that thymocytes express higher levels of VPAC2 compared to VPAC1 expression in bulk thymocytes, CD4+CD8+ selected double positives (DP), and CD8 depleted thymocytes. Double negative cells express low levels of VPAC2 mRNA. We demonstrate T-cell activation-dependent down-regulation of VPAC1, but not VPAC2, in human thymocytes. This study reports the first direct evidence of a differential distribution and selective regulation of VPAC1 and VPAC2 gene expression in normal human thymocyte subsets.