Since the discovery that adrenomedullin gene expression is 20- to 40-fold higher in endothelial cells than even in the adrenal medulla, this peptide has been regarded as an important secretory product of the vascular endothelium, together with nitric oxide, eicosanoids, endothelin-1, and other vasoactive metabolites. Cerebral endothelial cells secrete an exceptionally large amount of adrenomedullin, and the adrenomedullin concentration is about 50% higher in the cerebral circulation than in the peripheral vasculature. The adrenomedullin production of cerebral endothelial cells is induced by astrocyte-derived factors. Adrenomedullin causes vasodilation in the cerebral circulation, may participate in the maintenance of the resting cerebral blood flow, and may be protective against ischemic brain injury. Recent data from our laboratory indicate that adrenomedullin, as an endothelium-derived autocrine/paracrine hormone, plays an important role in the regulation of specific blood-brain barrier properties. Adrenomedullin is suggested to be one of the physiological links between astrocyte-derived factors, cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP), and the induction and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, the role of adrenomedullin in the differentiation and proliferation of endothelial cells and in angiogenesis suggests a more complex function for adrenomedullin in the cerebral circulation and in the development of the blood-brain barrier.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine