GH has been suggested to influence the function of the immune system in several species. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) (an animal model for multiple sclerosis) has been reported not to occur in GH-deficient (GHD) mice. The aim of this study was to elucidate the effects of GH and GHRH replacement on development of EAE in a mouse model of isolated GHD due to removal of the GHRH gene [GHRH knockout (GHRHKO)]. We studied two groups of adult female mice: 12 GH-sufficient animals (control) and 36 GHRHKO animals. All mice were immunized with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide, a peptideknownto induce EAE.GHRHKOmice were left untreated or were treated for 4 wk with daily sc injections of recombinant GH or of a GHRH super agonist JI-38 (JI38-GHD). Evaluation of EAE symptoms was carried out daily, and T-proliferative assay and histopathological analysis of the spinal cord were performed. GHRHKO mice were less prone to develop EAE when compared with control mice. GH (but not JI-38) restored the original susceptibility of mice to the disease, despite lack of complete serum IGF-I normalization. GH treatment was also associated with a markedly increase in spleen size and T-cell proliferation specific to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide. GH (but not GHRH) plays an important role in the development of EAE.
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