Effect of Adrenalectomy on Rat Peritoneal Macrophage Response


Glucocorticoid hormones are important for vital functions and act to modulate inflammatory and immune responses. In contrast to other hormonal systems no endogenous mediators have been identified that can directly counter-regulate their potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. Gluco-corticoids are known to interfere with the ability of the macrophage not only to induce and amplify an immune response but also to inhibit macrophage inflammatory effector functions. Although the actual immunocompetence of animals undergoing endocrine gland ectomy has never been directly studied, there is no doubt that adrenal hormones are deeply involved in the development and maintenance of the immunitory functions and this may in turn influence the inflammatory reaction.

To study the effect of endogenous glucocorticoids on the functions of rat peritoneal macrophages and induction of humoral immune response we observed some of the rat peritoneal macrophage effector functions, provided that endogenous glucocorticoids are depleted by adrenalectomy. The mean phagocytic index (PI) of control macrophage (Mϕ) is increased from 23,825 ± 427 to 31,895 ± 83 after adrenalectomy (P≤0.001). Intracellular killing capacity in control cell is 82% which is found to be 73% in case of adrenalectomised cell (p <0.05). The amount of nitric oxide released from control Mϕ 20.25 ± 1 μM following adrenalectomy shows the amount of nitric oxide release was 18.25 μM (p≤0.01). The percentage of DNA fragmentation in control Mϕ was 68.82 ± 4 which was reduced to 56.76 ± 1 after adrenalectomy (p≤0.01). In sheep red blood cell (SRBC) immunised and adrenalectomised animal, agglutination titre was obtained at lowest antibody concentration (1 : 128) whereas serum from SRBC immunised normal rats showed early agglutination (1 : 32). Endogenous glucocorticoid depleted rats show enhanced phagocytic capacity, antibody raising capacity as well as on the other hand adrenal hormone insufficiency reduces the intracellular killing capacity, nitric oxide (NO) release, improper cell maturation and heightens the probability of infection. These observations demonstrate a counter-regulatory system via glucocorticoid that functions to control inflammatory and immune responses.


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We are thankful to UGC for providing financial assistance to Dr. Biswadev Bishayi, under UGC Minor Research Scheme.

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Bishayi, B., Ghosh, S. & Bhanja, P. Effect of Adrenalectomy on Rat Peritoneal Macrophage Response. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 54, 335–346 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.54.2003.3-4.11

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  • Glucocorticoids
  • adrenalectomy
  • immunomodulation
  • inflammation
  • rat macrophage functions