Reference : Investigations on the mechanisms underlying the thymotropic properties of the growth hor...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Poster
Human health sciences : Endocrinology, metabolism & nutrition
Human health sciences : Immunology & infectious disease
Investigations on the mechanisms underlying the thymotropic properties of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) axis.
Goffinet, Lindsay mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > > Centre d'immunologie >]
Bodart, Gwennaëlle mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > > > Doct. sc. bioméd. & pharma. (Bologne)]
Renard, Chantal [Université de Liège - ULg > Centre d'Immunologie > > >]
Martens, Henri mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > > Centre d'immunologie >]
Geenen, Vincent mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > > Centre d'immunologie >]
30th Meeting of the Belgian Immunological Society (BIS)
18 November 2011
Belgian Immunological Society (BIS)
Universiteit Hasselt
[en] Thymus ; Growth hormone ; IGF-1 ; Interleukin 7 ; Pit-1
[en] Background. The thymus is responsible for thymopoiesis, i.e. the generation of a diverse and self-tolerant T-cell repertoire including self-antigen specific natural regulatory cells. We have shown that two parameters of thymopoiesis, thymic output of new T cells (estimated by sjTREC frequency) and intrathymic proliferation of T-cell precursors (estimated by sj/Dβ TREC ratio) are severely reduced in adult patients with GH deficiency (AGHD) and are restored by GH injections at physiological doses. In patients with AGHD, there is a very positive correlation between sjTREC frequency and plasma concentrations of IGF-1, the principal mediator of GH action (1). Treatment of HIV+ patients with high pharmacological doses of GH is associated with increased thymic mass and output of circulating naïve and total CD4+ T cells (2). In addition, previous studies have suggested thymic epithelial cells (TEC) and/or thymocytes (thymic T cells) could transcribe the GH gene (3).
Objectives and hypothesis. These studies analysed the question of GH transcription and regulation in primary cultures of human (h) TEC. We also investigated the hypothesis that the thymotropic properties of the somatotrope GH/IGF-1 axis could be mediated by thymic interleukin 7 (IL-7), which plays a crucial role in promoting V(D)J recombination at the TCR locus.
Results. Primary hTEC cultures were treated with natural secretagogues of pituitary GH, GH
releasing hormone (GHRH) and ghrelin. Using sensitive RT-qPCR, we detected neither any transcript of GH or GHV (placental GH variant) in cultured hTEC, nor any transcript of PIT1, the specific transcription factor of pituitary GH. Similarly, the protein GH was detected neither in the cytoplasm nor in the supernatant of cultured hTEC. Only at 1 nM, GH treatment enhanced IGF1 transcription by cultured hTEC. Of high interest, treatment with GH, ghrelin and IGF-1 promoted IL7 transcription by cultured hTEC, but only IGF-1 and epidermal growth factor (EGF) markedly stimulated IL-7 secretion by hTEC in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The specificity of IGF-1 action was demonstrated by its inhibition after treatment with αIR3, a monoclonal antibody against the type 1 IGF receptor.
Conclusions and perspectives. Since primary cultures of hTEC neither transcribe nor secrete
any significant amount of GH, the thymotropic effects of the GH/IGF-1 axis seem to depend only on systemic endocrine GH. Local thymic IGF-1 could partially mediate GH action within the thymus and act upon thymopoiesis in parallel with systemic IGF-1. Most importantly, thymic IL-7 appears to be an important mediator of the thymotropic properties of the
GH/IGF-1 axis. Further knowledge in this domain will be gained with the use and
supplementation of Ghrh-/- mice that will be soon available in our laboratory.
1. Morrhaye G. et al., PLoS ONE 2009, 4:e5668.
2. Napolitano LA et al. J Clin Invest 2008, 118:1085.
3. Smaniotto S et al., Endocrinology 2005, 146:3005.
4. Taub DD, Murphy WJ and Longo DL. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2010, 10:408.
(Supported by F.R.S.-FNRS and a Pfizer Independent Research Grant.)
Centre d'Immunologie ULg (CIL)
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Independent Research Grant (Pfizer Europe)
Researchers ; Professionals

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