vasoactive intestinal peptide
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract The availability of colon provides a ready source of human neurons. Among the products of nerve cell bodies, vasoactive intestinal peptide is a neuropeptide that serves as a marker of non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic inhibitory nerves in colon. These nerves have been proposed to be involved in regulation of immune function, secretion, and smooth muscle function. In previous work, we identified decreased tissue levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide in a disorder of chronic colonic mucosal inflammation, ulcerative colitis. We hypothesized that diminished gene expression of vasoactive intestinal peptide could result in decreased tissue levels of this neuropeptide. Sigmoid colon was obtained at surgery from controls (n=6) and patients with ulcerative colitis (n=6). Vasoactive intestinal peptide mRNA was quantified by Northern blot hybridization and tissue levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide were determined by radioimmunoassay. Tissue vasoactive intestinal peptide was decreased only in the mucosalsubmucosal layer of ulcerative colitis (p=.02). There was a single 1.7 kbase vasoactive intestinal peptide transcript identified in both control colon and ulcerative colitis. Normalized vasoactive intestinal peptide mRNA levels were increased by 260% in ulcerative colitis compared to controls (p〈.01). These observations suggest that decreased vasoactive intestinal peptide gene expression or abnormal post-transcriptional processing are not primary defects in this disorder of chronic inflammation. The findings support the alternative hypothesis that axonal degeneration in ulcerative colitis could result in increased expression of neuronal vasoactive intestinal peptide mRNA.
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