Multiple actions of pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating peptide in nervous system development and regeneration

Dev Neurosci. 2002;24(1):14-23. doi: 10.1159/000064942.


Pituitary adenylyl cyclase activating peptide (PACAP) is widely expressed in the embryonic brain at the onset of neurogenesis, and is strongly upregulated in several models of nerve injury. Moreover, high-affinity PACAP receptors are expressed in proliferative zones in the embryonic and postnatal nervous system suggesting that PACAP regulates the development of both neuronal and glial precursors. Tissue culture studies indicate that PACAP exerts a variety of growth factor-like actions that depend on the origin of the cell population and developmental stage. These effects include regulation of proliferation, survival, maturation, neurite outgrowth, and expression of trophic factors, cytokines and trk receptors. The presence of other growth factors can also markedly affect these actions of PACAP, for example, reversing PACAP's effect from proliferative to antiproliferative. In vivo models now provide additional evidence that PACAP acts in neural development and regeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Malformations / etiology
  • Neurites / physiology
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide
  • Rats
  • Trauma, Nervous System


  • ADCYAP1 protein, human
  • Adcyap1 protein, mouse
  • Adcyap1 protein, rat
  • Cytokines
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide