Author(s): Lepletier A, de Frias Carvalho V, Morrot A, Savino W
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Abstract Disorders in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are associated with the pathogenesis of Trypanosoma cruzi infection. During the acute phase of this disease, increased levels of circulating glucocorticoids (GCs) correlate with thymic atrophy. Recently, we demonstrated that this phenomenon is paralleled by a decrease of prolactin (PRL) secretion, another stress hormone that seems to counteract many immunosuppressive effects of GCs. Both GCs and PRL are intrathymically produced and exhibit mutual antagonism through the activation of their respective receptors, GR, and PRLR. Considering that GCs induce apoptosis and inhibit double-positive (DP) thymocyte proliferation and that PRL administration prevents these effects, it seems plausible that a local imbalance of GR-PRLR crosstalk underlies the thymic involution occurring in acute T. cruzi infection. In this respect, preserving PRLR signaling seems to be crucial for protecting DP from GC-induced apoptosis. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
This article was published in Ann N Y Acad Sci
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism