Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone is a primary signaling molecule in the neuroimmune network

Bianca Marchetti, Francesco Gallo, Zelinda Farinella, Catalog Tirolo, Nuccio Testa, Carmela Romeo, Maria C. Morale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The brain-pituitary-reproductive axis and the brain thymus-lymphoid axis are linked by an array of internal mechanisms of communication that use similar signals (neurotransmitters, peptides, growth factors, hormones) acting on similar recognition targets. Moreover, such communication networks form the basis and control each step and every level of reproductive physiology. This presentation highlights the extent to which endocrine, neural, glial, or immunologically competent cells may achieve their specific functions using common mechanisms, but employing them to different degrees. In particular, this work will focus on LHRH, the chief hormone orchestrating reproductive events. Within the thymus LHRH plays a unique role of immunomodulator, contributing to the sex-dependent changes in immune responsiveness during the estrous-menstrual cycle as well as pregnancy. From the recent cloning and sequencing of lymphocyte LHRH, the expression of LHRH receptor mRNA in lymphocyte, the transduction mechanisms involved, and the steroidogenic sensitivity of the intralymphocyte LHRH system. it would appear that this peptide may act as an immunological response modifier in the brain-pituitary-lymphoid-gonadal axis. The interplay between neuronal, endocrine, and immune compartments is further emphasized in the study of LHRH-astroglial interactions. Astrocytes are able to manufacture a wide variety of signaling agents and can secrete immunoregulatory molecules that influence immune cells, as well as the glial cells themselves. Astroglia and the immortalized hypothalamic LHRH (GT1-1) neurons communicate with an array of mechanisms, via soluble mediators as well as cell-to-cell contacts. Manipulation of astroglial-derived cytokines and nitric oxide (NO) in GT1-1 neuron-astroglia cocultures, underscores a potential cross-talk between different intra/inter-cellular mediators in the dynamic control of LHRH release. Further studies aimed to disclose at a biochemical and a molecular level such bidirectional, informative network will give us new insights into more general issues concerned with the malfunction of the neuroendocrine-immune axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-248
Number of pages44
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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