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      Effects of Rotational Stress of Different Duration on NK Cell Activity, Proinflammatory Cytokines, and POMC-Derived Peptides in Mice

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          Previous studies have shown that the same stressor, depending on intensity, controllability, or duration, can have different effects on the immune system. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of 10- and 20-min rotation on natural killer (NK) cell activity and also to establish if changes in body temperature, proinflammatory cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α) levels, and proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptide (ACTH and β-endorphin) levels parallel the changes in NK cell activity in mice. We found that 10-min rotation significantly increased NK cell activity as compared to both the control (home cage) group and the 20-min-rotation group, while NK cell activity in the 20-min group was not significantly changed compared to the control group. Both 10 and 20 min of rotational stress decreased body temperature and induced significant changes in the proinflammatory cytokine and POMC-derived peptide levels as compared to the control group. The pattern of proinflammatory cytokine expression was quite different between the 10- and 20-min rotation groups. All three proinflammatory cytokines were expressed sequentially (at 0 h after rotation TNF-α, at 6 h IL-1β and IL-6, and at 24 h IL-6) in the 10-min rotation group, while the 20-min rotation group had a small increase in IL-1β (6.7 ± 1.8 pg/ml) at 0 h and increased levels of IL-6 at 6 and 24 h. There was a dissociation of ACTH and β-endorphin expression in both groups resulting in significantly more β-endorphin (p < 0.05) in the 10-min group at 6 h and significantly more ACTH (p < 0.04) in the 20-min group at 6 h. IL-1β and β-endorphin have both been shown to have a direct stimulatory effect on NK cell activity. Therefore, we suspect that the significant increase in both IL-1β and β-endorphin at 6 h in the 10-min-rotation group may be involved in the increased NK cell activity observed at 24 h in the 10-min-rotation group.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Evidence that stress and surgical interventions promote tumor development by suppressing natural killer cell activity.

           G Page,  G Shakhar,  S Eliyahu (1999)
          Stress and surgery have been suggested to compromise host resistance to infectious and malignant diseases in experimental and clinical settings. Because stress affects numerous physiological systems, the role of the immune system in mediating such effects is unclear. In the current study, we assessed the degree to which stress-induced alterations in natural killer (NK) cell activity underlie increased susceptibility to tumor development in F344 rats. Two stress paradigms were used: forced swim and abdominal surgery. Host resistance to tumor development was studied using 3 tumor models syngeneic to inbred F344 rats: CRNK-16 leukemia and the MADB106 mammary adenocarcinoma, both sensitive to NK activity, and the NK-insensitive C4047 colon cancer. Swim stress increased CRNK-16-associated mortality and metastatic development of MADB106 but not metastasis of C4047 cells. In both stress paradigms, stress suppressed NK activity (NKA) for a duration that paralleled its metastasis-enhancing effects on the MADB106 tumor. In vivo depletion of large granular lymphocyte/NK cells abolished the metastasis-enhancing effects of swim stress but not of surgical stress. Our findings indicate that stress-induced suppression of NKA is sufficient to cause enhanced tumor development. Under certain stressful conditions, suppression of NKA is the primary mediator of the tumor-enhancing effects of stress, while under other conditions, additional factors play a significant role. Clinical circumstances in which surgical stress may induce enhanced metastatic growth are discussed.
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            Opioids modulate interleukin-1 production and secretion by bone-marrow macrophages.

            In the present study, we have assessed the effect of opioids (endorphins, enkephalins and neoendorphins) on production of IL-1 activity by bone-marrow-derived macrophages. None of the neuropeptides induced IL-1 production by itself. However, some of the opioids potentiated IL-1 production and release in macrophages concomitantly stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or silica. LPS induced predominantly intracellular IL-1 activity, whereas most of the silica-induced IL-1 was released extracellularly. beta-Endorphin, leucine-enkephalin (leu-enkephalin) and beta-neoendorphin all potentiated both intracellular and extracellular release of IL 1 induced by either LPS or silica. In contrast, alpha-endorphin, methionine-enkephalin (metenkephalin) and alpha-neoendorphin did not influence IL-1 production or release. The potentiating effects of beta-endorphin on LPS-induced IL-1 production/secretion were inhibited by naloxone, pointing to an involvement of opioid receptors.
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              Interplay in vitro between ACTH, beta-endorphin, and glucocorticoids in the modulation of spontaneous and lymphokine-inducible human natural killer (NK) cell activity.

              Release of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived peptides and glucocorticoids characterizes the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and represents a major adaptive response to stress. Both glucocorticoids and POMC-derived hormones are known to be crucial modifiers of the immune response. Natural killer (NK) cells are a lymphocyte subset deeply involved in immunosurveillance. Cortisol, the most important glucocorticoid hormone in humans, is a well-established inhibitor, whereas the two lymphokines, immune interferon (IFN-gamma) and interleukin-2 (IL-2), are important physiological stimulators. In the present study, physiological as well as superphysiological concentrations of two POMC-derived peptides, ACTH and beta-endorphin, were shown not only to affect in vitro spontaneous and lymphokine-inducible NK activity of peripheral blood mononuclear (PBM) cells, but also to modify cortisol-mediated inhibition. NK activity was measured in a 4-h cytotoxic assay using the cell line K562 as a target, after prior incubation with ACTH (10(-8)-10(-12) M) and beta-endorphin (10(-8)-10(-14) M) in the presence or absence of cortisol (10(-6) M), IFN-gamma (325 IU/ml), and IL-2 (25 IU/ml). ACTH was ineffective in changing spontaneous NK activity at all concentrations, whereas beta-endorphin enhanced NK cytotoxicity (p < .02). The concomitant exposure of PBM cells to the two POMC-derived peptides and IFN-gamma or IL-2 significantly enhanced the lymphokine-induced boosting of NK activity. Moreover, ACTH and beta-endorphin were able to significantly reduce the cortisol-dependent inhibition (p < .05). These data are compatible with the hypothesis that POMC-derived peptides have a role in the modulation of NK cell activity. It seems likely that in cases of activation of the HPA axis, ACTH and beta-endorphin may effectively counteract the negative effects of glucocorticoids on NK cell activity, and prevent, at least in some instances, any overshooting of the glucocorticoid-dependent effect on immune cells.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2001
                29 June 2001
                : 9
                : 1
                : 34-40
                Departments of aBiology and bMicrobiology, and cSchool of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ala., USA
                49005 Neuroimmunomodulation 2001;9:34–40
                © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, References: 34, Pages: 7
                Original Paper


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