Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is a regulatory neuropeptide which functions as a hypothalamic factor for pituitary hormone release, and as a neurotransmitter, neuro-modulator and neurotrophic factor in both frogs and mammals. This study examined the quantitative distribution and chromatographic characterization of immunoreactive PACAP in the central nervous system (CNS) of the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA), named avidin-biotin complex detectable EIA for PACAP, and high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) analysis. The brain of adult bullfrogs contained relatively high levels of immunoreactive PACAP (344.63 pmol/g wet weight of tissue). The average concentrations of immunoreactive PACAP in the regions of the telencephalon, diencephalon, tectum, cerebellum, rhombencephalon, and spinal cord were 213.84, 767.14, 524.94, 192.71, 237.67, and 362.04 pmol/g wet weight of tissue, respectively. The concentrations of immunoreactive PACAP increased with the brain development during metamorphosis, and the concentration of immunore-active PACAP in the brain of tadpoles at the end of metamorphosis was approximately 200 pmol/g wet weight of tissue. The predominant form of immunoreactive PACAP in the CNS of adult and tadpole was eluted closely with synthetic PACAP38, but another smaller immunoreactivity also appeared in a the fraction, which corresponded to the retention time of synthetic PACAP27, as analyzed by reverse-phase HPLC.
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