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J Immunol. 2000 Jun 15;164(12):6158-65.

The thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone) receptor is expressed on murine dendritic cells and on a subset of CD45RBhigh lymph node T cells: functional role for thyroid-stimulating hormone during immune activation.

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Department of Biological Science and the Mervin Bovaird Center for Studies in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Tulsa, OK 74104, USA.


Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), a central neuroendocrine mediator of the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis, has been shown to affect various aspects of immunological development and function. To gain a better understanding of TSH involvement within the mammalian immune system, the expression and distribution of the TSH receptor (TSHr) has been studied by immunoprecipitation and by flow cytometric analyses. Using highly enriched populations of B cells, T cells, and dendritic cells, trace amounts of TSHr were precipitated from B cells and T cells, whereas high levels of TSHr were precipitated from the dendritic cell fraction. Flow cytometric analyses of TSHr expression on splenic and lymph node T cells revealed a major difference between those tissues in that only 2-3% of splenic T cells were TSHr+, whereas 10-20% of CD4+8- and CD4-8+ lymph node T cells expressed the TSHr, which was exclusively associated with CD45RB(high) cells and was not expressed during or after activation. The TSHr was not present on cells of the immune system during fetal or neonatal life. However, recombinant TSHbeta was found to significantly enhance the phagocytic activity of dendritic cells from adult animals and to selectively augment IL-1beta and IL-12 cytokine responses of dendritic cells following phagocytic activation. These findings identify a novel immune-endocrine bridge associated with professional APCs and naive T cells.

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