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Autoimmunity. 2003 Sep-Nov;36(6-7):417-21.

Physiological relevance of thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone receptor in tissues other than the thyroid.

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Dental Branch, Department of Diagnostic Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Room 4.133, 6516 M.D. Anderson Blvd, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Decades of research have provided strong evidence for a reciprocal relationship between the immune system and hormones of the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), in particular, has been shown to have a variety of immune-regulating cytokine-like activities that can influence the outcome of T cell development in the thymus and intestine, and can affect the magnitude of antibody and cell-mediated responses of peripheral lymphocytes. Production of TSH and the expression of the TSH receptor are widely but selectively distributed across many different types of hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow, as well as among subsets of dendritic cells, monocytes and lymphocytes in the spleen and lymph nodes. In addition to their role in immunity, the involvement of TSH-producing hematopoietic cells in the microregulation of thyroid hormone activity represents a novel and potentially important aspect of the TSH-mediated immune-endocrine circuit.

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