Evidence that somatostatin is localized and synthesized in lymphoid organs.
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Because several peptides originally found in the pituitary as within the central nervous system have been localized in lymphoid tissues and because somatostatin (somatotropin-release-inhibiting hormone, SRIH) can act on cells of the immune system, we searched for this peptide in lymphoid organs. We demonstrated that SRIH mRNA exists in lymphoid tissue, albeit in smaller levels than in the periventricular region of the hypothalamus, the brain region that contains the highest level of this mRNA. SRIH mRNA was found in the spleen and thymus of male rats and in the spleen, thymus, and bursa of Fabricius of the chicken. Its localization in the bursa indicates that the peptide must be present in B lymphocytes since this is the site of origin of B lymphocytes in birds. The SRIH concentration in these lymphoid organs as determined by radioimmunoassay was greater in the thymus than in the spleen of the rat. These concentrations were 50 times less than those found in the periventricular region of the hypothalamus, the site of the perikarya of SRIH-containing neurons. In the chicken, as in the rat, the concentration of SRIH was greater in the thymus than in the spleen; it was present in the bursa of Fabricius, also in higher concentration than in the spleen. Fluorescence immunocytochemistry revealed the presence of SRIH-positive cells in clusters inside the white pulp and more dispersed within the red pulp of the spleen of both the rat and the chicken. The thymus from these species also contained SRIH-positive cells within the medulla and around the corticomedullary junction. In the chicken, there were large clusters of SRIH-positive cells in the medullary portion of each nodule of the bursa of Fabricius. Preabsorption of the primary antiserum or replacing this antiserum with normal rabbit serum verified the specificity of staining. Sequential immunostaining of the same sections from rat spleen using first SRIH antibody and subsequently a monoclonal antibody against a rat B-cell surface antigen revealed the presence of SRIH immunoreactivity in some, but not all, B cells. Other cell types in spleen not yet identified also stained positively with the SRIH antibody but were not reactive to monoclonal antibodies to rat Thy-1.1, a marker for all the thymic T lymphocytes. The possibility that SRIH is present in other populations of cells in the spleen cannot be ruled out. Sequential immunostaining of the same sections of rat thymus revealed the presence of SRIH immunoreactivity in a small population of T lymphocytes in the medulla, as revealed by the Thy-1.1 marker. The SRIH-positive cells were nonimmunoreactive when exposed to the B-cell marker; however, the possibility that SRIH is present in other cells was not investigated. Thus, our results indicate that SRIH is synthesized and stored in cells of the immune system. SRIH may be secreted from these cells to exert paracrine actions that alter the function of immune cells in spleen and thymus.
author list (cited authors)
Aguila, M. C., Dees, W. L., Haensly, W. E., & McCann, S. M.
complete list of authors
Aguila, MC||Dees, WL||Haensly, WE||McCann, SM