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J Neuroimmunol. 1998 Aug 14;89(1-2):19-25.

The steroid hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) breaks intranasally induced tolerance, when administered at time of systemic immunization.

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Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Fac. of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The induction of intranasal tolerance might be dependent on specific characteristics of mucosal, nose-draining lymph nodes. Such a specific characteristic might lie in the metabolism of the steroid hormone DHEA. Conversion of the prohormone DHEAS into DHEA is dependent on DHEAS-sulphatase activity in lymph nodes. This activity is low in mucosa-draining lymph nodes compared to peripheral lymph nodes, leading to differences in microenvironment. However, administration of DHEA before the induction of intranasal tolerance, could not change tolerance induction. We next determined the effect of DHEA after the induction of intranasally induced tolerance and demonstrated that the steroid hormone and some of its derivatives are able to break tolerance, when administered at time of systemic immunization. These findings might have implications for the regulation of intranasal tolerance and the use of DHEA.

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