Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) plays a role in almost every biological process from reproduction to hippocampal function. One area where a role for PACAP is not clearly delineated is central cardiorespiratory regulation. PACAP and its receptors (PAC1, VPAC1 and VPAC2) are present in cardiovascular areas of the ventral medulla and spinal cord and in the periphery. Central administration of PACAP generally increases arterial pressure. Knowledge about the role of PACAP in central cardiovascular regulation is growing, but even less is known about PACAP in central respiratory regulation. No specific data is currently available regarding the presence of PACAP or receptors in key respiratory centers, although it is known that neonatal PACAP knock-out mice die suddenly in a manner similar to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Future studies in mature preparations investigating the role of PACAP in the physiology and integration of central cardiorespiratory reflexes are clearly essential for a full understanding of this important neuropeptide in breathing.
- Central cardiorespiratory regulation
- Hippocampal function
- Sympathetic nerve activity