PublicatiesAlterations in pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and comorbid depression in Alzheimer’s disease in the human hypothalamus and prefrontal cortex
BACKGROUND: Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide (PACAP) is involved in the stress response and may play a key role in mood disorders, but no information is available on PACAP for the human brain in relation to mood disorders.
METHODS: PACAP-peptide levels were determined in a major stress-response site, the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), of people with major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD) and of a unique cohort of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients with and without depression, all with matched controls. The expression of PACAP-(Adcyap1mRNA) and PACAP-receptors was determined in the MDD and BD patients by qPCR in presumed target sites of PACAP in stress-related disorders, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).
RESULTS: PACAP cell bodies and/or fibres were localised throughout the hypothalamus with differences between immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridisation. In the controls, PACAP-immunoreactivity-(ir) in the PVN was higher in women than in men. PVN-PACAP-ir was higher in male BD compared to the matched male controls. In all AD patients, the PVN-PACAP-ir was lower compared to the controls, but higher in AD depressed patients compared to those without depression. There was a significant positive correlation between the Cornell depression score and PVN-PACAP-ir in all AD patients combined. In the ACC and DLPFC, alterations in mRNA expression of PACAP and its receptors were associated with mood disorders in a differential way depending on the type of mood disorder, suicide, and psychotic features.
CONCLUSION: The results support the possibility that PACAP plays a role in mood disorder pathophysiology.