Chemokines are a large family of cytokines involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Among CXC chemokines, CXC chemokine ligand 10 (CXCL10) has been identified to play an important role in several endocrinological autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, and type 1 diabetes mellitus. Although the mechanisms leading to glandular autoimmune process may be at least in part shared by different endocrine organs, the role of CXCL10 in autoimmune adrenal insufficiency is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of CXCL10 in Addison's disease (AD). Serum CXCL10 levels were assayed in 64 patients with clinically evident autoimmune AD, 20 patients with autoimmune subclinical AD, nine patients with nonautoimmune AD, and 48 healthy volunteers. Clinically evident and subclinical AD, but not non-autoimmune AD patients, showed a significant increase in sertun CXCL10 levels compared with healthy subjects: 119.9 pg/ml (range, 39.8-427.6) and 124.0 pg/ml (range, 37.0-384.7) vs. 75.6 pg/ml (range, 22.4-164.0; P <0.001 for both groups). Comparable serum CXCL10 levels were found between patients with an isolated form of AD and patients with other autoimmune conditions associated with AD, suggesting a specific influence of the adrenal autoimmune process in determining elevated CXCL10 concentrations in such patients. No relationship was found between serum CXCL10 levels and anti-21-hydroxylase or adrenal cortex autoantibody titers or between CXCL10 levels and duration of disease. The role of CXCL10 in the adrenal gland was also evaluated in vitro in human zona fasciculata cells (hZFC). CXCL10, although not basally detected in cultured hZFC, was strongly induced by interferon-γ and synergistically increased by TNF-α addition. Hydrocortisone or ACTH alone had no effect on CXCL10 secretion in hZFC, but they both significantly inhibited cytokine-induced CXCL10 secretion. Taken together, these data suggest a potential role of hZFC, through the production of CXCL10, in regulating the recruitment of specific subsets of activated lymphocytes in autoimmune AD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism