1. The effects of intravenous and intra-arterial infusion of the peptides derived from prepro-vasoactive intestinal peptide, vasoactive intestinal peptide, peptide histidine methionine and peptide histidine valine, were examined in six healthy volunteers.

2. Vasoactive intestinal peptide given intravenously caused a significant increase in heart rate and a decrease in diastolic, but not systolic, blood presure, whereas peptide histidine valine caused an increase in heart rate alone, despite higher achieved circulating peptide concentrations. Peptide histidine methionine did not affect heart rate or blood pressure. Forearm blood flow was increased by vasoactive intestinal peptide and peptide histidine valine when infused locally intra-arterially, although vasoactive intestinal peptide was more potent than peptide histidine valine.

3. Plasma concentrations of cardiodilatin (the N-terminal peptide derived from pro-atrial natriuretic peptide) were increased by intravenous infusion of vasoactive intestinal peptide, but were unaffected by peptide histidine methionine or peptide histidine valine. Circulating plasma concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline did not change during infusion of vasoactive intestinal peptide, peptide histidine methionine or peptide histidine valine.

4. Peptide histidine valine had a long half-life when compared with peptide histidine methionine and vasoactive intestinal peptide.

5. We conclude that peptide histidine valine is active in the human cardiovascular system and has a similar, though less potent, vasodilating action to vasoactive intestinal peptide. The higher circulating levels of peptide histidine valine found in man suggest that it may be important in modulating vascular tone.

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