Glucocorticoids, master modulators of the thymic catecholaminergic system?
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There is evidence that the major mediators of stress, i.e., catecholamines and glucocorticoids, play an important role in modulating thymopoiesis and consequently immune responses. Furthermore, there are data suggesting that glucocorticoids influence catecholamine action. Therefore, to assess the putative relevance of glucocorticoid-catecholamine interplay in the modulation of thymopoiesis we analyzed thymocyte differentiation/maturation in non-adrenalectomized and andrenalectomized rats subjected to treatment with propranolol (0.4 mg.100 g body weight(-1).day(-1)) for 4 days. The effects of beta-adrenoceptor blockade on thymopoiesis in non-adrenalectomized rats differed not only quantitatively but also qualitatively from those in adrenalectomized rats. In adrenalectomized rats, besides a more efficient thymopoiesis [judged by a more pronounced increase in the relative proportion of the most mature single-positive TCR alpha beta(high) thymocytes as revealed by two-way ANOVA; for CD4(+)...CD8(-)F (1,20) = 10.92, P lt 0.01; for CD4(-)CD8(+)F (1,20) = 7.47, P lt 0.05], a skewed thymocyte maturation towards the CD4(-)CD8(+) phenotype, and consequently a diminished CD4(+)CD8(-)/CD4(-)CD8(+) mature TCR alpha beta(high) thymocyte ratio (3.41 +/- 0.21 in non-adrenalectomized rats vs 2.90 +/- 0.31 in adrenalectomized rats, P lt 0.05) were found. Therefore, we assumed that catecholaminergic modulation of thymopoiesis exhibits a substantial degree of glucocorticoid-dependent plasticity. Given that glucocorticoids, apart from catecholamine synthesis, influence adrenoceptor expression, we also hypothesized that the lack of adrenal glucocorticoids affected not only beta-adrenoceptor- but also alpha-adrenoceptor-mediated modulation of thymopoiesis.
Keywords:Catecholamines / Glucocorticoids / beta-adrenoceptors / Propranolol / Thymocyte apoptosis / Thymocyte proliferation / Thymocyte differentiation
Source:Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 2010, 43, 3, 279-284
- Assoc Bras Divulg Cientifica, Ribeirao Preto