Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide, or VIP, is a short peptide hormone composed of 28 amino acid residues found naturally in both peripheral and central nervous systems. (2) The wide distribution of the peptide throughout the body indicates its pleiotropic potential as a neurotransmitter, vasodilator, and possibly as an immune regulator and secretagogue (2).
VIP has a vast spectrum of potential, including but not limited to neuromodulation and neurotransmission functions. Given the wide range of its potential applications in research studies, VIP has been of immense interest among researchers for further exploration.
Scientists posit that the VIP peptide binds with three types of G protein coupled receptors, namely VPAC1, VPAC2 and PAC1. Upon binding with these receptors, the pathway associated with adenylate cyclase (key regulatory enzyme) may be activated, possibly resulting in biological activity (5). The primary difference amongst the three receptors is their localization. Research indicates that VPAC1 is mainly expressed in the brain and peripheral area, such as liver, lungs, intestine and immune cells; whereas VPAC2 is expressed in the central nervous system and other peripheral area such as pancreas, heart, kidney, skeletal muscles, gastrointestinal and reproductive tract, and PAC1 is predominant in the brain and adrenal region (5).
Owing to the wide distribution of the receptors, researchers suggest that VIP and receptor binding might affect different targets in the central and peripheral system (depending on receptor location). Studies are currently investigating the peptide for its potential in the following areas:
- Possible impact on blood pressure
- May induce dilation of smooth muscles in the GI tract
- May stimulate water and electrolyte secretion in intestine
- May stimulate contraction of the heart muscle
- Possibly elevate glycogen metabolism in liver
- May regulate prolactin secretion
- May regulate circadian rhythm (sleep – wake cycle)
- Possible neuroprotective function against oxidative stress
- May possibly reduce inflammation
- May alter cardiac fibrosis
- Possibly modulate lung function
Research and Clinical Studies
VIP Peptide and Inflammation
Research (6) has suggested that VIP, which appears to be produced directly by immune cells themselves, exhibits various potential immunological actions to maintain an equilibrium of the immune system. Several studies have suggested that VIP possesses anti-inflammatory potential, in both innate (hereditary) immunity and adaptive (acquired) immunity. In innate immunity, VIP has been posited to inhibit the synthesis of inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines and chemokines; while in adaptive immunity, VIP may inhibit responses of the inflammatory Th1-type cells and promotes Th2-type cell responses. Due to its potential to reduce Th1-type inflammatory cell actions, VIP may improve intestinal immunity and decrease inflammation (7).
VIP Peptide and the Blood Brain Barrier
The blood brain barrier (BBB) is considered a crucial part of the nervous system, providing cellular protection to the tissues and blood vessels of the central nervous system. The blood brain barrier appears to filter everything from oxygen to nutrition factors, which may potentially enter these neurological vessels and affect immune function. Compromise of the blood brain barrier may lead to severe ailments. Research has suggested that VIP may exhibit some neuroprotective potential, which might support proper maintenance of the blood brain barrier (10).
VIP Peptide and Cardiac Fibrosis
The pathophysiology of cardiac fibrosis is considered to have a high association with angiotensinogen receptors and angiotensinogen converting enzymes (ACE), both of which may lead to vascular inflammation. Research (13) has suggested that VIP peptide may promote some reduction in these angiotensinogen expressions – possibly similar in action to ACE inhibitor compounds. As a result, VIP may mitigate cardiac fibrosis and possibly reverse heart muscle scarring.
VIP and Behavioral Responses in Animals
Studies (14) have suggested that VIP neurons may be activated when animals process behavioral responses. The activation of the VIP neurons in the hypothalamus region may also trigger the secretion of prolactin hormones, which is considered the primary trigger of behaviors such as aggression and even parental care. The full role of VIP in behavioral responses is still under exploration.
VIP peptide is available for research and laboratory purposes only. Please review and adhere to our Terms and Conditions before ordering.
1. VIPoma. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/5493/vipoma
2. Delgado, M., & Ganea, D. (2013). Vasoactive intestinal peptide: a neuropeptide with pleiotropic immune functions. Amino acids, 45(1), 25–39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883350/
3. Iwasaki, M., Akiba, Y., & Kaunitz, J. D. (2019). Recent advances in vasoactive intestinal peptide physiology and pathophysiology: focus on the gastrointestinal system. F1000Research, 8, F1000 Faculty Rev-1629. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6743256/
4. Welsh, D. K., Takahashi, J. S., & Kay, S. A. (2010). Suprachiasmatic nucleus: cell autonomy and network properties. Annual review of physiology, 72, 551–577. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758475/
5. Vosko, A. M., Schroeder, A., Loh, D. H., & Colwell, C. S. (2007). Vasoactive intestinal peptide and the mammalian circadian system. General and comparative endocrinology, 152(2-3), 165–175. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994114/
6. Gonzalez-Rey E, Delgado M. Role of vasoactive intestinal peptide in inflammation and autoimmunity. Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2005 Nov;6(11):1116-23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16312132/
7. Seo S, Miyake H, Alganabi M, Janssen Lok M, O’Connell JS, Lee C, Li B, Pierro A. Vasoactive intestinal peptide decreases inflammation and tight junction disruption in experimental necrotizing enterocolitis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31668399/
8. Chorny A, Gonzalez-Rey E, Delgado M. Regulation of dendritic cell differentiation by vasoactive intestinal peptide: therapeutic applications on autoimmunity and transplantation. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1088:187-94. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17192565/
9. Chorny, A., Gonzalez-Rey, E., Fernandez-Martin, A., Pozo, D., Ganea, D., & Delgado, M. (2005). Vasoactive intestinal peptide induces regulatory dendritic cells with therapeutic effects on autoimmune disorders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(38), 13562–13567. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1224633/
10. Staines DR, Brenu EW, Marshall-Gradisnik S. Postulated vasoactive neuropeptide immunopathology affecting the blood-brain/blood-spinal barrier in certain neuropsychiatric fatigue-related conditions: A role for phosphodiesterase inhibitors in treatment? Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009;5:81-9. Epub 2009 Apr 8. PMID: 19557103; PMCID: PMC2695238. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19557103/
11. Mosley RL, Lu Y, Olson KE, Machhi J, Yan W, Namminga KL, Smith JR, Shandler SJ, Gendelman HE. A Synthetic Agonist to Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Receptor-2 Induces Regulatory T Cell Neuroprotective Activities in Models of Parkinson’s Disease. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019 Sep 18;13:421. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31619964/
12. Solés-Tarrés, I., Cabezas-Llobet, N., Vaudry, D., & Xifró, X. (2020). Protective Effects of Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide and Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Against Cognitive Decline in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 14, 221. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7380167/
13. Karen A. Duggan, George Hodge, Juchuan Chen, Tegan Hunter, Vasoactive intestinal peptide infusion reverses existing myocardial fibrosis in the rat, European Journal of Pharmacology, Volume 862, 2019, 172629, ISSN 0014-2999. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299919305813
14. Kingsbury MA. New perspectives on vasoactive intestinal polypeptide as a widespread modulator of social behavior. Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2015 Dec 1;6:139-147. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26858968/
15. This might be the breakthrough coronavirus cure we’ve been waiting for. https://bgr.com/science/coronavirus-cure-rlf-100-aviptadil-phase-3-trial/
16. Domschke, S., Domschke, W., Bloom, S. R., Mitznegg, P., Mitchell, S. J., Lux, G., & Strunz, U. (1978). Vasoactive intestinal peptide in man: pharmacokinetics, metabolic and circulatory effects. Gut, 19(11), 1049–1053. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1412244/
NOTE: These products are intended for laboratory research use only. VIP for sale (6mg) is not intended for personal use. Please review and adhere to our Terms and Conditions before ordering.
Dr. Marinov (MD, Ph.D.) is a researcher and chief assistant professor in Preventative Medicine & Public Health. Prior to his professorship, Dr. Marinov practiced preventative, evidence-based medicine with an emphasis on Nutrition and Dietetics. He is widely published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and specializes in peptide therapy research.