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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Prokineticins: Neuromodulators and Mediators of Inflammation and Myeloid Cell-Dependent Angiogenesis.

  • Author(s): Negri, Lucia
  • Ferrara, Napoleone
  • et al.

The mammalian prokineticins family comprises two conserved proteins, EG-VEGF/PROK1 and Bv8/PROK2, and their two highly related G protein-coupled receptors, PKR1 and PKR2. This signaling system has been linked to several important biological functions, including gastrointestinal tract motility, regulation of circadian rhythms, neurogenesis, angiogenesis and cancer progression, hematopoiesis, and nociception. Mutations in PKR2 or Bv8/PROK2 have been associated with Kallmann syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by defective olfactory bulb neurogenesis, impaired development of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons, and infertility. Also, Bv8/PROK2 is strongly upregulated in neutrophils and other inflammatory cells in response to granulocyte-colony stimulating factor or other myeloid growth factors and functions as a pronociceptive mediator in inflamed tissues as well as a regulator of myeloid cell-dependent tumor angiogenesis. Bv8/PROK2 has been also implicated in neuropathic pain. Anti-Bv8/PROK2 antibodies or small molecule PKR inhibitors ameliorate pain arising from tissue injury and inhibit angiogenesis and inflammation associated with tumors or some autoimmune disorders.

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