Interleukins and their receptors are expressed intrinsically in the anterior pituitary and regulate hormone production and cell proliferation. It has previously been shown that interleukin-6 (IL-6) regulates hormone secretion in normal pituitary cells and cell lines. Here we examined the effects of IL-6 on propiomelanocortin (POMC) expression and ACTH production in corticotroph adenoma cells in vitro. We found that IL-6 stimulates both ACTH secretion and POMC gene expression in corticotroph adenoma cell cultures. This first demonstration of the stimulatory action of IL-6 on human corticotroph adenoma cell function provides further evidence for a direct action of IL-6 on corticotroph pituitary cells. We have confirmed previous reports of IL-6 production by corticotroph adenoma cells and in addition, demonstrated for the first time that the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone is a potent suppressor of intratumoral IL-6 production. This intratumoral produced IL-6 may be in part responsible, in an autocrine manner, for the stimulation of ACTH synthesis and secretion. Our results suggest that IL-6 might play a role in the pathogenesis of Cushing's disease. However, elevated glucocorticoid levels in patients with Cushing's disease may prevent excessive action of IL-6 on ACTH production and tumor progression of corticotroph adenomas in vivo.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
- Corticotroph adenoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism