Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) belong to the same peptide family and exert a variety of biological functions. Both PACAP and VIP have protective effects in several tissues. While PACAP is known to be a stronger retinoprotective peptide, VIP has very potent anti-inflammatory effects. The need for a non-invasive therapeutic approach has emerged and PACAP has been shown to be retinoprotective when administered in the form of eye drops as well. The cell penetrating peptide TAT is composed of 11 amino acids and tagging of TAT at the C-terminus of neuropeptides PACAP/VIP can enhance the traversing ability of the peptides through the biological barriers. We hypothesized that TAT-bound PACAP and VIP could be more effective in exerting retinoprotective effects when given in eye drops, by increasing the traversing efficacy and enhancing the activation of the PAC1 receptor. Rats were subjected to bilateral carotid artery occlusion (BCCAO), and retinas were processed for histological analysis 14 days later. The efficiency of the TAT-bound peptides to reach the retina was assessed as well as their cAMP increasing ability. Our present study provides evidence, for the first time, that topically administered PACAP and VIP derivatives (PACAP-TAT and VIP-TAT) attenuate ischemic retinal degeneration via the PAC1 receptor presumably due to a multifactorial protective mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience