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Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide: Potential roles in the pathophysiology and complications of cirrhosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


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Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) is a ubiquitous neuropeptide with diverse functions throughout the organism. Most abundantly investigated for its role in several neurological disorders as well as in circadian rhythms, other fields of medicine, including cardiology, have recently shown interest in the role of PACAP and its potential as a biomarker. Timely diagnosis and treatment of cirrhosis and its complications is a considerable challenge for health services world-wide and development of new areas of research is warranted. Direct and indirect evidence exists of PACAP involvement in the cascade of pathological events and processes ultimately leading to cirrhosis and its complications, but its exact role remains to be determined. Studies have documented PACAP involvement in immune function, metabolism, local vasoconstriction and -dilatation and systemic vascular decompensation and there is ongoing research of a possible role in liver reperfusion injury. Considering these reports, PACAP could theoretically exude influence on the disease course of cirrhosis through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis, chronic inflammation, fibrogenesis, vasodilation and reduced vascular resistance. The paucity of literature on the specific topic of PACAP and cirrhosis reflects complex mechanisms and difficulty in accurate measurements and sample taking. This does not detract from the need to further characterize and elucidate the role PACAP plays in the underdiagnosed and undertreated condition of cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLiver international : official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2578-2589
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Research areas

  • cirrhosis, inflammation, liver, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide

ID: 60338916