Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a pleiotropic and multifunctional peptide exerting its effects via 3 main receptors (PAC1, VPAC1 and VPAC2). PACAP is now considered to be a potent neurotrophic and neuroprotective peptide. It plays an important role during the embryonic development of the nervous system. PACAP also protects neurons against various toxic insults in neuronal cultures of diverse origins. In vivo, PACAP shows neuroprotection in models of ischemic and traumatic brain injuries, and those of neurodegenerative diseases. The present review summarizes the findings on the neuroprotective potential of PACAP in models of neurodegenerative diseases, with special focus on in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's disease, Huntington chorea and Alzheimer's disease. Based on these observations, both endogenous and exogenously administered PACAP or its novel analogs, fragments offer a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery