The relationship between the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis and oral-induced immunosuppression

Daniel J.J. Carr, Thomas W. Woolley, Benjamin L. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of hypophysectomy on the immune response in mice orally immunized with sheep red blood cells (SRBC) was investigated. Hypophysectomized and sham-operated animals display elevated serum levels of SRBC-specific IgG. In addition, splenic lymphocytes obtained from hypophysectomized mice (i) exhibit an enhanced blastogenic response to SRBC, (ii) present with a lower frequency of T (thy 1.2+) cells and produce more total IgG polyclonal antibody in culture in comparison to splenic lymphocytes obtained from non-operated (control) mice. Peyer's patch (PP) and mesenteric lymph node (MLN) lymphocytes from hypophysectomized animals secreted elevated levels of total IgG compared to saline-treated controls. The culture supernates of splenic lymphocytes obtained from hypophysectomized, sham-operated, and control animals contain interleukin-2 suppressive factors as determined using the CTLL-2 cell line. The suppressive effect mediated by the lymphocyte culture supernates is less apparent on interleukin-4-mediated CTLL-2 proliferation. The culture supernates from PP lymphocytes obtained from hypophysectomized mice contain potent interleukin-2 suppressive factors while PP lymphocyte culture supernates from sham-operated and control mice displayed no suppressive activity. Likewise, culture supernates from MLN lymphocytes of hypophysectomized, sham-operated, and control mice possessed no suppressive factors for interleukin-2- or interleukin-4-mediated CTLL-2 proliferation. Taken together, the identification of suppressive factors in the lymphocyte culture supernates along with the enhanced blastogenic response and serum anti-SRBC IgG levels in hypophysectomized mice suggests neuroendocrine pathways regulate oral-induced tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr. Trenton Schoeb (Comparative Medicine, UAB) for the histological sectioning of the mouse brains. This work was supported by an incentive grant award from the LSU Neuroscience Center.


  • Gut-associated lymphoid tissue
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-4
  • Neuroimmunomodulation


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