Vasoactive intestinal peptide in the immune system: potential therapeutic role in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases
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- Delgado, M., Abad, C., Martinez, C. et al. J Mol Med (2002) 80: 16. doi:10.1007/s00109-001-0291-5
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Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), a neuropeptide that is produced by lymphoid as well as neural cells, exerts a wide spectrum of immunological functions, controlling the homeostasis of the immune system through different receptors expressed in various immunocompetent cells. In the last decade, VIP has been clearly identified as a potent anti-inflammatory factor, which acts by regulating the production of both anti- and pro-inflammatory mediators. In this sense, VIP has been described to prevent death by septic shock, an acute inflammatory disease with a high mortality. In addition, VIP regulates the expression of co-stimulatory molecules, this being an action that may be related to modulating the shift toward Th1 and Th2 differentiation. We have recently reported that VIP prevents the deleterious effects of an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis, by downregulating both inflammatory and autoimmune components of the disease. Therefore, VIP has been proposed as a promising candidate alternative treatment for acute and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as septic shock, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn disease, or autoimmune diabetes.