A good body of experimental and clinical results has supported the existence of numerous reciprocal interactions among the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Increasing evidence has been accumulated in the last years on the interaction between pituitary-thyroid hormones and the immune system on the basis of either the existence of receptors for thyreotropic and thyroid hormones on lymphocytes or the frequent immune alteration in physiological and pathological fluctuations of thyroid hormones. The data were obtained either in animals with experimentally induced hyper- or hypothyroidism or in humans with various hyperthyroid or hypothyroid situations. Conversely, immune-derived products such as lymphokines and monokines have been shown able to influence the pituitary-thyroid axis modulating either the thyroid hormone levels or the hormone/cytokine production by thyrocytes. The present paper aims at summarizing the data available on the existence of thyroid-immune interactions, and at analyzing the possible integration between pituitary-thyroid hormones and immune factors in favoring the development and maintenance of both thymic and peripheral immune efficiency. The relevance of pituitary-thyroid-immune interactions is discussed for its implication in the ageing process.
- Immune system
- Pituitary-thyroid axis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health