Stress and Autoimmunity: The Neuropeptides Corticotropin-Releasing Factor and Urocortin Suppress Encephalomyelitis via Effects on Both the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and the Immune System

Sebastian Poliak, Felix Mor, Paul Conlon, Tim Wong, Nick Ling, Jean Rivier, Wylie Vale, Lawrence Steinman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) exerts a major role in the stress response. Both CRF and urocortin, a newly discovered neuropeptide homologous to CRF, suppressed experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Suppression of paralysis with CRF involved stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and inhibitory effects on an encephalitogenic T cell line. While CRF increased glucocorticoid production, which is known to block EAE, it also suppressed EAE in adrenalectomized rats, where glucocorticoid stimulation via CRF plays no role. Moreover, the encephalitogenicity of a T cell line exposed to CRF in vitro was reduced. Stress may influence autoimmune disease through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and directly via the immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5751-5756
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume158
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

Funding

FundersFunder number
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesP01DK026741
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeR01NS018235

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