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Brainstem Neuropeptides and Vagal Protection of the Gastric Mucosal Against Injury: Role of Prostaglandins, Nitric Oxide and Calcitonin-Gene Related Peptide in Capsaicin Afferents

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Earlier experimental studies indicated that the integrity of vagal pathway was required to confer gastric protection against damaging agents. Several peptides located in the brainstem initially identified to influence vagal outflow to the stomach, as assessed by electrophysiological approach or by vagal dependent alterations of gastric secretory and motor function, were investigated for their influence in the vagal regulation of the resistance of the gastric mucosa to injury. Thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH), or its stable TRH analog, RX-77368, injected at low doses into the cisterna magna or the dorsal motor nucleus (DMN) was the first peptide reported to protect the gastric mucosa against ethanol injury through stimulation of vagal cholinergic pathways, inducing the release of gastric prostaglandins/ nitric oxide (NO) and the recruitment of efferent function of capsaicin sensitive afferent fibers containing calcitonin-gene related peptide (CGRP). Activation of endogenous TRH-TRH1 receptor signaling located in the brainstem plays a role in adaptive gastric protection against damaging agents. Since then, an expanding number of peptides, namely peptide YY, CGRP, adrenomedullin, amylin, glugacon-like peptide, opioid peptides acting on μ, δ1 or δ2 receptors, nocicpetin, nocistatin, ghrelin, leptin and TLQP-21, a peptide derived from VGF prohormone, have been reported to act in the brainstem to afford gastric protection against ethanol injury largely through similar peripheral effectors mechanisms than TRH. Therefore gastric prostaglandins and CGRP/NO pathways represent a common final mechanism through which brain peptides confer vagally mediated gastroprotection against injury. A better understanding of brain circuitries through which these peptides are released will provide new strategies to recruit integrated and multifaceted gastroprotective mechanisms.

Keywords: Adrenomedullin; CGRP; TRH; cisterna magna; electrophysiological approach; ethanol; ghrelin; nitric oxide; prostaglandins; vagus

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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