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The many faces of VIP in neuroimmunology: a cytokine rather a neuropeptide?

AuthorsPozo Pérez, David; Delgado, M.
KeywordsImmune response
Th cells
Vasoactive intestinal peptide
Issue DateSep-2004
PublisherFederation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
CitationThe FASEB Journal 18: 1325-1334 (2004)
AbstractNeuroimmunomodulation has experienced an explosive growth not only in basic research, but expanding to the point that prospective clinical research could be now a reality. A crucial factor for the functioning of this intimate bidirectional network was the demonstration that the immune and neuroendocrine systems speak a mutual biochemical language. This implies 1) production of neuroendocrine hormones and neuropeptides by immune cells and of cytokines by neuroendocrine cells; 2) evidence for shared receptors on cells of the immune and neuroendocrine systems; 3) effect of neuroendocrine mediators on immune functions; and 4) effect of cytokines on the neuroendocrine system. This reduces traditional differences between neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune mediators and raises the following question: what can we now regard as immune or neuroendocrine? Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is one example of this paradigm. VIP has traditionally been classified as a neuropeptide/neurotransmitter based in its capacity to mediate and regulate neuronal functions. Recent work has demonstrated that VIP is produced by T cells, especially Th2 cells, and that through specific receptors it exerts immunological functions typically ascribed to Th2 cytokines in nervous and immune systems. Here, we postulate that instead of a neuropeptide, VIP could be fully considered a type 2 cytokine with a key role in neuroimmunology.
Description10 pages, 3 figures.-- PMID: 15333575 [PubMed].
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1096/fj.03-1440hyp
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