Neuropeptides are potent modulators of humanin vitro immunoglobulin E synthesis
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We determined the effect of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) on the regulation of IgE synthesis. Depending on the concentration, ACTH enhanced or inhibited IgE synthesis in a culture system where IgE synthesis was induced with interleukin-4 (IL-4) and anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Similar effects on IgE synthesis were observed by adding ACTH-related peptides, e.g. corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), the inducer of ACTH, or alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), a cleavage product of ACTH. However, ACTH had no effect on IgG or IgM synthesis in this culture system. ACTH did not act directly on either B or T cells as there was no influence on IgE synthesis in a system using purified B cells alone or co-cultured with T cells. The effect of ACTH on IgE synthesis was mediated by accessory cells. This was shown by priming purified CD14-positive monocytes with ACTH and reconstitution experiments. Therefore, these findings suggest that ACTH and the related peptides CRF and alpha-MSH can influence the microenvironment modulating an IL-4 and anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody driven class switching to IgE via accessory cells.