Regulation of the Immune System by Hypothalamic Releasing Hormones.
Annual rept. 15 Jul 84-14 Jul 86,
TEXAS UNIV MEDICAL BRANCH AT GALVESTON
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It has been known for many years that stressful situations can be a contributing factor in the development of a variety of bacterial, viral and neoplastic diseases. Specifically, decreased immuno-competence seems to account for the increased susceptibility of stressed hosts for these disease states. We and others have shown that one mechanism by which this can occur is through the action of neuroendocrine hormones on the imnmune system. Conversely, we and others have shown lymphocytes synthesize biologically active molecules very similar, if not identical, to neuroendocrine hormones. Thus, it appears that the immune and neuroendocrine systems communicate in a bidirectional regulatory circut by virtue of common signal molecules and receptors. This report summarizes data showing that hypothalamic hormones which were classically thought only to act on the pituitary also stimulate the immune system. Thus, these hormones released by the brain can serve as a direct link between the central nervous and lymphoid systems. This may explain in part how stressful situations can result in decreased resistance to infections and tumors.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Stress Physiology