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Neuroendocrinology. 2003 Jan;77(1):32-43.

In vivo activation of the interleukin-6 receptor/gp130 signaling pathway in pituitary corticotropes of lipopolysaccharide-treated rats.

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Laboratoire des Régulations Neuroendocriniennes, EA 2972, Université Bordeaux I, Talence, France.


Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) release from anterior pituitary corticotropes is greatly increased during peripheral inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) administration. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is thought to participate in LPS-induced ACTH release, but whether or not corticotropes are directly targeted by this cytokine is unclear. Therefore, we investigated the expression and activation of IL-6 signaling components in the pituitary of rats 2 and 4 h after administration of LPS (250 microg/kg). Intraperitoneal LPS treatment provoked the nuclear translocation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT-3) and Fos expression in the anterior pituitary lobe, as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. By using in situ hybridization, we demonstrated that suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS-3) and c-fos mRNAs were significantly induced by the LPS treatment in the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Dual in situ hybridization revealed that most corticotropes expressed IL-6 receptor and gp130 mRNAs, and that 2 h after LPS treatment, SOCS-3 and c-fos mRNAs were induced in corticotropes. Our results suggest that LPS-induced IL-6 could regulate the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis by directly targeting corticotropes during peripheral inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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