Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP), a novel secretagogue, regulates secreted morphogens in newborn rat retina

Monika Lakk, Viktoria Denes, Karmen Kovacs, Orsolya Hideg, Bence F. Szabo, Robert Gabriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP)1-38 has been reported to be responsible for regulation of a disparate array of developmental processes in the central nervous system, and its antiapoptotic effect has been revealed in numerous models, pointing to its relevance in the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders. However, its function in retinal development remains unclear. Here, we aimed to point out that versatility can be achieved through interaction with other regulators, in which PACAP can act indirectly on the retinal microenvironment. METHODS. Wistar rats at age postnatal day 1 were injected intravitreally with PACAP or PAC1 receptor antagonist (PACAP6-38, M65) or VPAC1 antagonist (PG97-269) alone or in combination. Retinas were removed at 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours after injection. Changes in mRNA level were assessed using quantitative PCR, whereas changes in protein levels were measured by Western blot. RESULTS. Intravitreal injection of PACAP or PAC1 receptor antagonists or the VPAC1 antagonist showed that PACAP receptors regulate the expression of five key secreted molecules (i.e., Fgf1, Bmp4, Wnt1, Gdf3, and Ihh), wherease other crucial morphogens (i.e., Fgf2, Fgf4, Fgf8, Fgf9, Shh, and Bmp9) were not affected. Pharmacologic dissection revealed that both PAC1 and VPAC1 induced downstream signaling and could cause upregulation of Fgf1, Bmp4, and Wnt1, whereas expression of Gdf3 might be mediated through the VPAC2 receptor. CONCLUSIONS. Our data are the first to shed light on PACAP as a secretagogue regulating a sustained production of morphogens, which in turn could enable PACAP to serve as a mitogen for retinal cells, to induce ganglion cell differentiation, and to contribute to RPE development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-572
Number of pages8
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Bone morphogenic proteins
  • Development
  • Fibroblast growth factors
  • Hedgehogs
  • Wnt1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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