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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 May;282(5):E1110-8.

Opposing effects of pituitary leukemia inhibitory factor and SOCS-3 on the ACTH axis response to inflammation.

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Cedars-Sinai Research Institute-University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.


We have shown that leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 are expressed in the hypothalamus and pituitary and that LIF induces proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and ACTH, whereas SOCS-3 abrogates corticotroph POMC gene transcription and ACTH secretion. Here, we determined the role of pituitary LIF and SOCS-3 in regulating hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis inflammatory responses. Murine pituitary LIF expression was induced up to eightfold after intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide or tumor necrosis factor-alpha, concordant with elevated plasma levels of ACTH and corticosterone. In LIF knockout (LIFKO) mice, induction of both ACTH and corticosterone were attenuated. LIF deletion was associated with elevated (P < 0.05) levels of pituitary TNF-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta, and IL-6 mRNA and cytokine-inducible pituitary SOCS-3 expression. Abrogation of the HPA axis stress response and higher pituitary levels of proinflammatory cytokines observed in LIFKO mice resulted in a stronger inflammatory process, as evidenced by elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and increased serum amyloid A levels (P < 0.05). The results indicate that, although LIF induces ACTH, SOCS-3 acts to counterregulate the HPA axis response to inflammation.

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