The neuropeptide vasoactive intestinal peptide: direct effects on immune cells and involvement in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2015 Feb;213(2):442-52. doi: 10.1111/apha.12427. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


Neuropeptides represent an important category of endogenous contributors to the establishment and maintenance of immune deviation in the immune-privileged organs such as the CNS and in the control of acute inflammation in the peripheral immune organs. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) is a major immunoregulatory neuropeptide widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous system. In addition to neurones, VIP is synthesized by immune cells which also express VIP receptors. Here, we review the current information on VIP production and VIP-receptor-mediated effects in the immune system, the role of endogenous and exogenous VIP in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and the present and future VIP therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: T-cell differentiation; autoimmune diseases; innate immunity; neuropeptides; tolerogenic dendritic cells; vasoactive intestinal peptide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / metabolism*


  • Neuropeptides
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide