PACAP has anti-apoptotic effect in the salivary gland of an invertebrate species, Helix pomatia

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Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) shows a remarkable sequence similarity among species and several studies provide evidence that the functions of PACAP have also been conserved among vertebrate species. Relatively little is known about its presence and functions in invertebrates. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the well-known anti-apoptotic effect of PACAP can also be demonstrated in invertebrates. This effect was studied in the salivary gland of a molluscan species, Helix pomatia. In this work, we first showed the presence of PACAP-like immunoreactivity in the Helix salivary gland by means of immunohistochemistry. Radioimmunoassay measurements showed that PACAP38-like immunoreactivity dominated in the salivary gland of both active and inactive snails and its concentration was higher in active than in inactive animals in contrast to PACAP27-like immunoreactivity, which did not show activity-dependent changes. PACAP induced a significant elevation of cAMP level in salivary gland extracts. Application of apoptosis-inducing agents, dopamine and colchicine, led to a marked increase in the number of terminal uridine deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL)-positive apoptotic cells in the salivary gland, which was significantly attenuated by PACAP treatment. In a similar manner, the number of caspase-positive cells was reduced after co-application of dopamine and PACAP. Taken together, the data indicate that PACAP activates cAMP in a molluscan species and we show, for the first time, that PACAP is anti-apoptotic in the invertebrate Helix pomatia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase-3
  • RIA
  • cAMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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