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  • Author: Andrzej Bartke x
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Maria A Villanua, Agnieszka Szary, Ana I Esquifino and Andrzej Bartke

This work was undertaken to study the effects of thymostimulin (TP-1) on the immune function in Ames dwarf mice, and to relate these effects to PRL and/or GH deficiency in these animals. Male Ames dwarf mice implanted with pituitaries from normal mice under the kidney capsule, sham-operated dwarf mice and normal immature or adult mice were injected daily for five days with TP-1. In comparison to normal animals, sham-operated dwarf mice had markedly lower body, thymus and spleen weights, as well as a lower number of lymphocytes in the spleen and in the thymus and the natural killer (NK) activity of spleen lymphocytes. Ectopic pituitary transplants produced the expected enhancement of body weight gain and increased spleen and thymus weights, which reached the values found in normal (non-dwarf) animals. The numbers of lymphocytes in the spleen and thymus were significantly increased in pituitary-grafted dwarf mice, but the grafts did not modify the cytotoxic activity of NK spleen cells, or the number of peripheral white blood cells (PWBC). In sham-operated dwarf mice, TP-1 treatment did not modify the number of cells in the spleen and thymus, or the NK activity. In pituitary-grafted dwarf mice, treatment with TP-1 induced an increase in the number of spleen lymphocytes and in the NK activity of spleen cells without affecting the weight of lymphoid organs or the number of thymic cells. Plasma prolactin (PRL) and growth hormone (GH) levels of pituitary-grafted dwarf mice were not changed after TP-1 administration. Surprisingly, the NK activity of spleen lymphocytes in normal adult mice was greatly increased after TP-1 administration. These findings suggest that the thymic extract TP-1 can exert a major stimulatory influence on NK activity of spleen lymphocytes in adult mice, and potentiate some of the stimulatory effects of hormones secreted by ectopic pituitary transplants on the immune function of Ames dwarf mice. These effects are not mediated by modifications of the release of PRL or GH.

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Holly M Brown-Borg, Fu-Ping Zhang, Ilpo Huhtaniemi and Andrzej Bartke

Brown-Borg HM, Zhang F-P, Huhtaniemi I, Bartke A. Developmental aspects of prolactin receptor gene expression in fetal and neonatal mice. Eur J Endocrinol 1996;134:751–7. ISSN 0804–4643

The prolactin receptor (PRL-R), a member of the hematopoietin cytokine receptor superfamily, is widely distributed among mammalian tissues. To understand better the potential sites of action and onset of potential PRL responsiveness, the developmental distribution pattern of PRL-R mRNA expression in fetal and neonatal mice was examined. Fetal mouse tissues were collected at distinct stages from timed pregnancies. Following extraction of total RNA, onset of gene expression was evaluated via reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Southern hybridization was employed for verification. Expression of PRL-R mRNA was first observed on day 14 in the liver and cranium and on day 15 in the kidney, lung and thymus gland. Pituitary and adrenal glands were positive for PRL-R at day 18 of gestation through to day 1 of postnatal life. Neither whole fetuses prior to day 14 (days 10–13) of gestation nor skin and bladder tissues from 2-day-old mice generated detectable RT-PCR signals for PRL-R. The presence of PRL-R mRNA in fetal thymus and spleen tissues suggests a possible role for PRL in the development of the immune system. Prolactin may act directly on the pituitary to influence its own secretion and/or that of other pituitary-derived factors, as evidenced by the presence of PRL-R mRNA in the pituitary glands of fetal and 1-day-old mice. These data are the first to show the presence of PRL-R gene expression in various organ systems in fetal mice and suggest that PRL is among several factors necessary to coordinate developmental activities.

Holly M Brown-Borg, Department of Physiology, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037, USA