A cynical commentator might observe that the progression of regulatory peptide research generally conforms to the following scenario. An enterprising chemist/ biochemist/molecular biologist either purifies and characterizes a previously undescribed biologically active peptide or infers its existence from the nucleotide sequence of a gene or cDNA. This is quickly followed by a burst of intense activity in several laboratories to define its role in physiology and pathophysiology (the “bandwagon” effect) resulting in far-reaching claims for the peptide’s importance in terms of clinical relevance. When these often exaggerated claims are found not to be justified, interest in the peptide declines precipitously.
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