FASEB J. 2003 Aug 15
Delgado M, Ganea D.
In most neurodegenerative disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease, a massive neuronal cell death occurs as a consequence of an uncontrolled inflammatory response, where activated microglia and its cytotoxic agents play a crucial pathologic role.
Because current treatments for these diseases are not effective, several regulatory molecules termed "microglia-deactivating factors" recently have been the focus of considerable research.
Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a neuropeptide with a potent anti-inflammatory effect, which has been found to protect from other inflammatory disorders, such as endotoxic shock and rheumatoid arthritis.
In the present study, we investigate the effect of VIP on inflammation-mediated neurodegeneration in vitro and in vivo as well as on the putative neuroprotective effect of VIP on experimental pathological conditions in which central nervous system (CNS) inflammation is involved, such as brain trauma.
The involvement of activated microglia and their derived cytotoxic products is also studied.
VIP has a clear neuroprotective effect on inflammatory conditions by inhibiting the production of microglia-derived proinflammatory factors (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1beta, nitric oxide).
In this sense, VIP prevents neuronal cell death following brain trauma by reducing the inflammatory response of neighboring microglia.
Therefore, VIP emerges as a valuable neuroprotective agent for the treatment of pathologic conditions of the CNS where inflammation-induced neurodegeneration occurs.