PACAP Enhances Barrier Properties of Cerebral Microvessels
Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a widely distributed neuropeptide that has various different functions in the nervous system and in non-neural tissues. Little is known about the effects of PACAP in endothelial cells. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of PACAP on endothelial cell survival and apoptotic signaling pathways under oxidative stress. Mouse hemangioendothelioma (EOMA) cells were exposed to 0.5mM H(2)O(2) which resulted in a marked reduction of cell viability and a parallel increase of apoptotic cells assessed by MTT test and flow cytometry. Co-incubation with 20nM PACAP1-38 increased cell viability and reduced the percentage of apoptotic cells. Flow cytometry analysis showed that oxidative stress reduced the phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic ERK and increased the phosphorylation of the pro-apoptotic JNK and p38 MAP kinases. PACAP1-38 treatment ameliorated these changes: levels of phospho-ERK were elevated and those of phospho-JNK and p38 were decreased. All these effects were abolished by simultaneous treatment with the PACAP antagonist PACAP6-38. In summary, our results show that PACAP effectively protects endothelial cells against the apoptosis-inducing effects of oxidative stress.