Interactions of PACAP and ceramides in the control of granule cell apoptosis during cerebellar development

J Mol Neurosci. 2008 Nov;36(1-3):8-15. doi: 10.1007/s12031-008-9111-5. Epub 2008 Jun 24.


Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a neuropeptide that belongs to the secretin/glucagon/vasoactive intestinal polypeptide superfamily. The PACAPergic system is actively expressed in the developing cerebellum of mammals. In particular, PACAP receptors are expressed by granule cell precursors suggesting a role of the peptide in neurogenesis of this cell type. Consistent with this hypothesis, several studies reported antiapoptotic effects of PACAP in the developing cerebellum. On the other hand, the sphingomyelin metabolites ceramides are recognized as important signaling molecules that play pivotal roles during neuronal development. Ceramides, which production can be induced by death factors such as FasL or TNFalpha, are involved in the control of cell survival during brain development through activation of caspase-dependent mechanisms. The present review focuses on the interactions between PACAP and ceramides in the control of granule cell survival and on the transduction mechanisms associated with the anti- and proapoptotic effects of PACAP and ceramides, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Ceramides / chemistry
  • Ceramides / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum* / cytology
  • Cerebellum* / growth & development
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide / metabolism*
  • Second Messenger Systems / physiology


  • Ceramides
  • Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide