Abstract: Does dysregulation of key epigenetic and biochemical pathways occur in postulated vasoactive neuropeptide autoimmune disorders?

Med Hypotheses. 2005 Jul 15; [Epub ahead of print]

Staines DR.

Gold Coast Public Health Unit, 10-12 Young Street, Southport 4215, Queensland, Australia.

Autoimmune dysfunction of certain vasoactive neuropeptides (VNs) has been postulated as a contributing cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Gulf War syndrome (GWS) and other fatigue-related disorders. This family of VNs includes pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP).

The postulated mechanism is compromise of adenylate cyclase activation, a vital and unique step in cyclic AMP production from ATP, through autoimmune dysfunction of VNs, their receptors or their genes possibly involving cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) fragments. CpG fragments are immunomodulatory dinucleotides serving as ‘friend or foe’ recognition systems to differentiate bacterial and viral (hypomethylated CpG) from mammalian (methylated CpG) DNA.

However hypomethylation disorders affecting these fragments in mammals may convert them to dysfunctional states by promoting autoimmune inflammatory reactions. Epigenetic mechanisms acting on gene promoter regions may contribute to the development of VN autoimmune fatigue-related disorders through CpG fragments located in vital segments of VN/receptor genes by causing signalling defects with profound implications for VN function.

Neurotransmitter dysfunction particularly glutamatergic transmission could also result with disruption of neuronal cellular biochemical functions such as ammonia regulation. Endosomal acidity and mitochondrial membrane potential modifiers such as chloroquine, together with immunoregulatory therapies, may have therapeutic implications in protecting against these apparent autoimmune disorders. This paper examines specific epigenetic and biochemical mechanisms possibly mediated by VN or receptor genes resulting in postulated VN autoimmune fatigue-related disorders.

These mechanisms may have implications for treatment and prevention options for VN autoimmune disorders. VN autoimmune processes have implications for military medicine where radiological, chemical and biological agents may play an important role in pathogenesis.

PMID: 16026937 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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