Purpose Our previous studies have shown that pituitary gonadotroph-derived calcitonin (pit-CT) is a potent inhibitor of prolactin secretion. Transgenic mice with targeted overexpression of pit-CT (pit-CT+) exhibit long-lasting hypoprolactinemia and immunosuppression. In this study, we investigated the immune function in adult female pit-CT+ mice. The objectives of these experiments were to investigate if the changes in pituitary hormone secretion alter the profile of splenic lymphocyte populations.
Methods Spleens from adult female pit-CT+ and age-matched control mice were obtained. The lymphocyte populations from the splenic cells of the transgenic and control mice were analyzed for the expression of the following cell-surface antigens by flow cytometry: CD3, CD14, CD4, CD8, CD19, anti-mouse TNF-alpha, anti-mouse IL-4, MHC-I, MHC-II, anti-mouse IFN-g, anti-mouse IL-2, CD86, CD11, and CD95.
Results The results suggest that splenic lymphocyte populations from pit-CT+ mice displayed a dramatic decrease in CD8 populations and an almost 12-fold decrease in the CD14 population. However, there was an 8-fold increase in the B-cell population and, similarly, a 15-fold increase in the IL-4 population.
Summary These results suggest a dramatic down-regulation of T-cell and monocyte populations but an up-regulation of IL-4 and B-cell populations. This suggests an increase in Th2 cell populations, which is characteristic of humoral and inflammatory responses. The present results raise a strong possibility that alterations in the pituitary function can significantly affect the immune function.
Conclusion These results demonstrate that pit-CT+ mice exhibit immunosuppression as indicated by decreased T-cell populations.
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