NYMC Faculty Publications

VPAC1 Receptors Play a Dominant Role in PACAP-Induced Vasorelaxation in Female Mice

Journal Title

PLoS One

First Page


Document Type


Publication Date

January 2019




BACKGROUND: PACAP and VIP are closely related neuropeptides with wide distribution and potent effect in the vasculature. We previously reported vasomotor activity in peripheral vasculature of male wild type (WT) and PACAP-deficient (KO) mice. However, female vascular responses are still unexplored. We hypothesized that PACAP-like activity is maintained in female PACAP KO mice and the mechanism through which it is regulated differs from that of male PACAP KO animals. METHODS: We investigated the vasomotor effects of VIP and PACAP isoforms and their selective blockers in WT and PACAP KO female mice in carotid and femoral arteries. The expression and level of different PACAP receptors in the vessels were measured by RT-PCR and Western blot. RESULTS: In both carotid and femoral arteries of WT mice, PACAP1-38, PACAP1-27 or VIP induced relaxation, without pronounced differences between them. Reduced relaxation was recorded only in the carotid arteries of KO mice as compared to their WT controls. The specific VPAC1R antagonist completely blocked the PACAP/VIP-induced relaxation in both arteries of all mice, while PAC1R antagonist affected relaxation only in their femoral arteries. CONCLUSION: In female WT mice, VPAC1 receptors appear to play a dominant role in PACAP-induced vasorelaxation both in carotid and in femoral arteries. In the PACAP KO group PAC1R activation exerts vasorelaxation in the femoral arteries but in carotid arteries there is no significant effect of the activation of this receptor. In the background of this regional difference, decreased PAC1R and increased VPAC1R availability in the carotid arteries was found.