1. Angiotensin IV (AngIV), the (3-8) fragment of AngII, was previously believed to be an inactive metabolite. However, specific binding sites, termed AT4 receptors, have been identified in the brain and peripheral organs and the peptide has been reported to enhance memory recall in passive avoidance studies and to dilate pial and renal cortical vessels.
2. AT4 receptors are distinct from AngII AT1 and AT2 receptors with respect to function, ligand specificity and distribution.
3. In the brain, AT4 receptors are abundant in cerebral and cerebellar cortex, hippocampal formation and cholinergic systems, as well as sensory and motor systems. However, the peptide AngIV is low or undetectable in the central nervous system. This led us to search for an alternative peptide ligand of the AT4 receptor.
4. The decapeptide LVVYPWTQRF was isolated from cerebral cortex and binds with high affinity to brain AT4 receptors. This peptide sequence corresponds to an internal sequence of β-globin and has previously been named LVV-haemorphin 7.
5. Haemorphin may represent a new class of endogenous neuropeptides, some of which interact potently with the brain AT4 receptor to elicit a range of actions.