Recent insights into biological functions of mammalian bombesin-like peptides and their receptors

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Purpose of review

The current review highlights recent advances in physiological and pharmacological researches in biology of mammalian bombesin-like peptides (BLPs).

Recent findings

BLPs and their receptors were found to have regulatory roles in many biological processes in central nervous system. Two BLPs, neuromedin B and gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP), and their receptors are required for regulation of basal and induced sighing activity in rodents. This is the first study demonstrating central pathways involved in regulation of sighing activity. GRP receptor (GRPR) expressing neurons are excitatory glutamatergic interneurons located in the dorsal lamina without projections outside the spinal cord and mediate itch signals via vesicular glutamate transporter 2. Those neurons receive itch signals and make synapses with the parabrachial nucleus projecting spinal neurons to transmit itch signals to parabrachial nucleus. GRP expressing interneurons function in a proposed ‘leaky gate model’ to interpret the mechanism of both pain and itch transmission. In addition to recent advances of biology in nervous system, BLPs and their receptors were found to play potential regulatory roles in innate and adaptive immune responses and tissue development.


Several important biological roles of BLPs and their receptors in nervous system were identified. Together with researches regarding central roles of BLPs, studies revealing the regulatory roles of BLPs and their receptors in immunology and tissue development provide us with novel insights into understanding of the biology of BLPs and their receptors.

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