A pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 18 (IL-18), induces intracellular expression of IL-1 and the release of IL-6. IL-1 and IL-6 has been detected in anterior pituitary cells, suggesting that IL-18 is produced in anterior pituitary cells and may serve to aid immuno-endocrine regulation. In the present study, we addressed this hypothesis by investigating the intracellular localization of IL-18 and its receptor in bovine anterior pituitary gland. IL-18 mRNA and its protein were detected in the anterior pituitary gland by RT-PCR and Western blotting. In situ hybridization showed that IL-18 mRNA was expressed in the anterior pituitary cells. Immunohistochemistry of IL-18 and specific hormones revealed the presence of IL-18 in somatotrophs. Furthermore, the expression of GH mRNA in IL-18 immunoreactive cells was confirmed by immuno-laser microdissection. These results first demonstrated that somatotrophs produced IL-18. Subsequently, the distribution of the IL-18 receptor alpha (IL-18Rα) was investigated in order to understand IL-18 signaling among the anterior pituitary cells. Bovine IL-18Rα cDNA was partially sequenced and detected in the anterior pituitary gland by RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry of IL-18Rα, IL-18 and GH showed that IL-18Rα was co-localized in IL-18 immunoreactive cells or somatotrophs. These data suggest that IL-18 acts on somatotrophs as an immuno-endocrine mediator through the autocrine pathway.
- Anterior pituitary gland
- Immuno-endocrine signaling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology