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      Prolactin activates IRF1 and leads to altered balance of histone acetylation: Implications for systemic lupus erythematosus.

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          Objectives: Prolactin is known to be associated with autoimmune disease; however, the mechanisms are incompletely understood. Previous studies have highlighted the effects on B-cell tolerance and monocyte/macrophage activation. One study found that prolactin could activate IRF1, a transcription factor implicated in SLE and interferon responses. We hypothesized that prolactin elicited transcriptional regulation though an epigenetic process related to IRF1 activation in monocytes. This study examined IRF1 activation and downstream epigenetic effects.Methods: Protein analysis, qRT-PCR, and ChIP assays were used in a human monocytic cell line and primary monocytes to define changes related to acute and chronic prolactin exposure.Results: We found that prolactin acutely induced both expression and activation of IRF1. Prolactin induced interactions of IRF1 with the histone acetyltransferase co-activators CBP and p300. Chronic prolactin induced expression of multiple histone modifying proteins and genes within the interferon signature suggesting that the prolonged exposure to prolactin resets the landscape and balance of chromatin modifying enzymes.Conclusion: These data provide insight into the mechanism of the association of prolactin with autoimmunity. We found effects at the level of epigenetics, an area not previously explored. Our data support a role for chronic prolactin regulating the expression of genes setting the landscape of chromatin modifying enzymes and driving the interferon signature. This novel finding is of relevance in systemic lupus erythematosus, where clinical effects of hyperprolactinemia have been recognized.

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          Author and article information

          Mod Rheumatol
          Modern rheumatology
          Informa UK Limited
          May 2020
          : 30
          : 3
          [1 ] Division of Rheumatology, Currently at Jefferson University School of Medicine, The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
          [2 ] Division of Allergy Immunology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
          [3 ] Currently at Liberty College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lynchburg, VA, USA.

          CBP, IRF1, STAT, histone acetylation, interferon signature, p300


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