Role of Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide in Modulating Hypothalamus-Pituitary Neuroendocrine Functions in Mouse Cell Models

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Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) was originally identified as a hypothalamic activator of cyclic adenosine monophosphate production in pituitary cells. PACAP and its receptor are expressed not only in the central nervous system, but also in peripheral organs, and function to stimulate pituitary hormone synthesis and secretion as both a hypothalamic-pituitary-releasing factor and an autocrine-paracrine factor within the pituitary. PACAP stimulates the expression of the gonadotrophin α, luteinising hormone (LH) β and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) β subunits, as well as the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor and its own PACAP type I receptor (PAC1R) in gonadotrophin-secreting pituitary cells. In turn, GnRH, which is known to be a crucial component of gonadotrophin secretion, stimulates the expression of PACAP and PAC1R in gonadotrophs. In addition, PAC1R and PACAP modulate the functions of GnRH-producing neurones in the hypothalamus. This review summarises the current understanding of the possible roles of PACAP and PAC1R in modulating hypothalamus and pituitary neuroendocrine cells in the mouse models.

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