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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2008, Article ID 792428, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/792428
Review Article

Postulated Role of Vasoactive Neuropeptide-Related Immunopathology of the Blood Brain Barrier and Virchow-Robin Spaces in the Aetiology of Neurological-Related Conditions

1Gold Coast Population Health Unit, Queensland Health, Southport, Gold Coast, Queensland 4215, Australia
2Population Health and Neuroimmunology Unit, Faculty of Health Science and Medicine, Bond University, Robina, Queensland 4229, Australia

Received 17 July 2008; Accepted 16 December 2008

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2008 D. R. Staines et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Vasoactive neuropeptides (VNs) such as pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) have critical roles as neurotransmitters, vasodilators including perfusion and hypoxia regulators, as well as immune and nociception modulators. They have key roles in blood vessels in the central nervous system (CNS) including maintaining functional integrity of the blood brain barrier (BBB) and blood spinal barrier (BSB). VNs are potent activators of adenylate cyclase and thus also have a key role in cyclic AMP production affecting regulatory T cell and other immune functions. Virchow-Robin spaces (VRSs) are perivascular compartments surrounding small vessels within the CNS and contain VNs. Autoimmunity of VNs or VN receptors may affect BBB and VRS function and, therefore, may contribute to the aetiology of neurological-related conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. VN autoimmunity will likely affect CNS and immunological homeostasis. Various pharmacological and immunological treatments including phosphodiesterase inhibitors and plasmapheresis may be indicated.