The effect of VIP on phagocytosis in peritoneal macrophages was examined by means of flow cytometry (FCM). This assay revealed that VIP suppressed phagocytosis in a dose-dependent manner. VIP(1-12) did not suppress phagocytosis. VIP(10-28) was more suppressive than VIP(1-28). A known VIP-antagonist (N-Ac-Tyr1,D-Phe2)-growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF) (1-29)-NH2 suppressed phagocytosis less than VIP. Control phagocytosis was partially suppressed in Ca(2+)-free solution. Phagocytosis was suppressed by VIP further in Ca(2+)-free solution than in the normal solution. Phagocytosis was suppressed in a known phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX-containing solution. The degree of suppression by VIP was the same in the presence or the absence of IBMX. These results suggest that VIP suppresses extracellular Ca(2+)-dependent and -independent phagocytosis, that the C-terminal fragment of VIP is essential for VIP action, that the suppression is mediated by cAMP and that the inhibition of macrophage phagocytosis by VIP is one of the mechanisms which modulates immune responses by the nervous system.
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