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      Differential Effects of Neuropeptides on Cytokine Production by Mouse Helper T Cell Subsets

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          Though immune outcome is known to be determined by which helper T cell response predominates, no local mechanism has yet been established which can explain how the neuronal system may control this. It is possible that the nervous system releases neuropeptides at specific local sites of infection or challenge, which triggers lymphocytes at those points to release specific cytokine profiles. These may then influence the direction of the Th1/Th2 response and therefore immune outcome. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether and if so how neuropeptides influence cytokine production by lymphocytes, especially T cells. We investigated the effects of neuropeptide Y (NPY), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P (SP) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) on the production of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) by stimulating nonadherent splenocytes and helper T cell clones with antigens in vitro in the presence or absence of these peptides. NPY greatly enhanced IL-4 production and inhibited IFN-γ. CGRP inhibited IFN-γ production markedly in a dose-dependent manner, but had no effects on IL-4 production. SP and VIP had no effects on IFN-γ production, but SP enhanced and VIP suppressed IL-4 production slightly but consistently. Therefore neuropeptides can influence cytokine production. This opens the door to speculations that these specific cytokine profiles might play a part in influencing the direction of the consequent Th1/Th2 cascade and immune outcome and possibly the pathogenesis of immune-related diseases.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Regulation of Langerhans cell function by nerves containing calcitonin gene-related peptide.

          Several observations suggest interactions between the immune and nervous systems. Psoriasis and atopic dermatitis may worsen with anxiety and have been associated with anomalous neuropeptide regulation. Neurotransmitters affect lymphocyte function and lymphoid organs are innervated. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a neuropeptide and vasodilator that modulates some macrophage functions, including antigen presentation in vitro. CGRP is associated with Langerhans cells (LC) in oesophageal mucosa, particularly during inflammation, is present in epidermal nerves and is associated with Merkel cells. We examined the ability of CGRP to modulate LC antigen-presenting function and asked if CGRP-containing nerves impinge on LC. We report here that CGRP-containing nerve fibres are intimately associated with LC in human epidermis and CGRP is found at the surface of some LC. In three functional assays CGRP inhibited LC antigen presentation. These findings indicate that CGRP may have immunomodulatory effects in vivo and suggest a locus of interaction between the nervous system and immunological function.
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            Regulation of murine lymphokine production in vivo. III. The lymphoid tissue microenvironment exerts regulatory influences over T helper cell function

            We investigated the capacity of murine T lymphocytes, isolated from various lymphoid organs of normal or antigen-primed donors, to produce IL-2 or IL-4 after activation with anti-CD3 or specific antigen. Our results established that T cells resident within lymphoid organs being drained by nonmucosal tissue sites (e.g., axillary, inguinal, brachial lymph nodes, or spleen) produced IL-2 as the predominant T cell growth factor (TCGF) after activation. Conversely, activated T cells from lymphoid organs being drained by mucosal tissues (Peyer's patches, and cervical, periaortic, and parathymic lymph nodes) produced IL-4 as the major species of TCGF. Analysis of the lymphoid tissues obtained from adoptive recipients of antigen-primed lymphocytes provided by syngeneic donors provided evidence that direct influences were being exerted on T cells during their residence within defined lymphoid compartments. These lymphoid tissue influences appeared to be responsible for altering the potential of resident T cells to produce distinct species of TCGF. Steroid hormones, known transcriptional enhancers and repressors of specific cellular genes, were implicated in the controlling mechanisms over TCGF production. Glucocorticoids (GCs) were found to exert a systemic effect on all recirculating T cells, evidenced by a marked dominance in IL-4 production by T cells obtained from all lymphoid organs of GC-treated mice, or after a direct exposure of normal lymphoid cells to GCs in vitro before cellular activation with T cell mitogens. Further, the androgen steroid DHEA appeared to be responsible for providing an epigenetic influence to T cells trafficking through peripheral lymphoid organs. This steroid influence resulted in an enhanced potential for IL-2 secretion after activation. Anatomic compartmentalization of the DHEA-facilitated influence appears to be mediated by differential levels of DHEA-sulfatase in lymphoid tissues. DHEA-sulfatase is an enzyme capable of converting DHEA-sulfate (inactive) to the active hormone DHEA. We find very high activities of this enzyme isolated in murine macrophages. The implications of our findings to immunobiology are very great, and indicate that T cells, while clonally restricted for antigen peptide recognition, also appear to exhibit an extreme flexibility with regards to the species of lymphokines they produce after activation. Regulation of this highly conservative mechanism appears to be partially, if not exclusively, controlled by cellular influences being exerted by distinct species of steroid hormones, supplied in an endocrine or a paracrine manner where they mediate either systemic or tissue-localized influences, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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              Separation of mouse spleen cells by passage through columns of sephadex G-10.


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                April 1998
                10 July 1998
                : 5
                : 1-2
                : 9-15
                a Department of Immunology, National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, Tokyo and b Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health, NCNP, Chiba, Japan
                26321 Neuroimmunomodulation 1998;5:9–15
                © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Pages: 7
                Original Paper


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