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Inflammation Activates Adrenal Immune Cells

May be part of system regulating stress hormone release, animal study suggests

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Systemic inflammation appears to trigger profound local changes in adrenal gland immune cells. Changes include induction of inflammatory mediators as part of a complex signaling circuit, which is a process that may be involved in regulating stress hormone release, reports an article published online Jan. 3 in Endocrinology.

Linda Engstrom, of Linkoping University in Linkoping, Sweden, and colleagues induced systemic inflammation in rats by injecting lipopolysaccharide intravenously and then examined the subsequent effects on the adrenal gland.

Lipopolysaccharide-induced systemic inflammation resulted in depletion of dendritic cells in the inner cortical layers of the adrenal gland, with recruitment of immature cells to the outer layers. In addition, these changes were associated with the induced expression of proinflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins in adrenal immune cells, including interleukin 1β, interleukin-1 receptor type 1, cyclooxygenase-2 and microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1.

"The findings show that adrenal immune cells undergo profound changes in response to systemic immune challenge that are associated with their induced and intrinsically regulated expression of inflammatory messengers in a temporal and cell specific pattern, hence unraveling a mechanism by which inflammatory agents activate local signaling circuits in the adrenals that may regulate stress hormone release," the authors conclude.

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