Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 326, Issue 2, pp 583–598 | Cite as

Neuropeptides as synaptic transmitters

  • Chiara Salio
  • Laura Lossi
  • Francesco Ferrini
  • Adalberto Merighi
Review

Abstract

Neuropeptides are small protein molecules (composed of 3–100 amino-acid residues) that have been localized to discrete cell populations of central and peripheral neurons. In most instances, they coexist with low-molecular-weight neurotransmitters within the same neurons. At the subcellular level, neuropeptides are selectively stored, singularly or more frequently in combinations, within large granular vesicles. Release occurs through mechanisms different from classical calcium-dependent exocytosis at the synaptic cleft, and thus they account for slow synaptic and/or non-synaptic communication in neurons. Neuropeptide co-storage and coexistence can be observed throughout the central nervous system and are responsible for a series of functional interactions that occur at both pre- and post-synaptic levels. Thus, the subcellular site(s) of storage and sorting mechanisms into different neuronal compartments are crucial to the mode of release and the function of neuropeptides as neuronal messengers.

Keywords

Neurotransmission Synapses Neuropeptides Large granular vesicles Ultrastructure Colocalization 

Abbreviations

5-HT

5-hydroxytryptamine or serotonin

ACTH

corticotropin

AGRP

agouti gene-related protein

CART

cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript

CCK

cholecystokinin

CGRP

calcitonin gene-related peptide

CNS

central nervous system

CRH

corticotropin-releasing hormone

DRG

dorsal root ganglion

DSIP

delta sleep-inducing peptide

GABA

γ-amino-butyric acid

GLP-1

glucagon-like peptide 1

GPCR

G-protein-coupled receptor

IAPP

islet amyloid polypeptide

LGV

large granular vesicle

LHRH

luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone

α-MSH

α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone

NO

nitric oxide

NPY

neuropeptide tyrosine

PACAP

pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating peptide

PHI

peptide histidine isoleucine

PP

pancreatic polypeptide

PCR

polymerase chain reaction

PNS

peripheral nervous system

PYY

peptide tyrosine tyrosine

SP

substance P

SSV

small synaptic vesicle

TGN

trans-Golgi network

TRH

thyrotropin-releasing hormone

VIP

vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Salio
    • 1
  • Laura Lossi
    • 1
  • Francesco Ferrini
    • 1
  • Adalberto Merighi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Morfofisiologia Veterinaria and Rita Levi Montalcini Center for Brain RepairGrugliasco (TO)Italy

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