Stress, NPY and vascular remodeling: Implications for stress-related diseases

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Neuropeptide Y (NPY) has long been known to be involved in stress, centrally as an anxiolytic neuromodulator, and peripherally as a sympathetic nerve- and in some species, platelet-derived vasoconstrictor. The peptide is also a vascular mitogen, via Y1/Y5, and is angiogenic via Y2/Y5 receptors. Arterial injury activates platelet NPY and vascular Y1 receptors, inducing medial hypertrophy and neointima formation. Exogenous NPY, dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV, forming an Y2/Y5-selective agonist) and chronic stress augment these effects and occlude vessels with atherosclerotic-like lesions, containing thrombus and lipid-laden macrophages. Y1 antagonist blocks stress-induced vasoconstriction and post-angioplasty occlusions, and hence may be therapeutic in angina and atherosclerosis/restenosis. Conversely, tissue ischemia activates neuronal and platelet-derived NPY, Y2/Y5 and DPPIV, which stimulate angiogenesis/arteriogenesis. NPY-Y2-DPPIV agonists may be beneficial for ischemic revascularization and wound healing, whereas antagonists may be therapeutic in retinopathy, tumors, and obesity. Since stress is an underestimated risk factor in many of these conditions, NPY-based drugs may offer new treatment possibilities.

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