More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Occurrence of adrenergic nerve fibers in human thymus during immune response

Neurochem Int 2002 Mar;40(3):211-221
Cavallotti D, Artico M, Iannetti G, Cavallotti C.
Department of Neurosciences, University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Rome, Italy

The adrenergic nerve fibers (ANF), the neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactive nerve fibers (NPY-NF) and the noradrenaline (NA) amount were studied in the human thymus in subjects previously treated or not treated with interferon therapy with the aim to identify the changes due to the interferon therapy.

This therapy has been used in patients affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

Biochemical and morphological methods were used associated with quantitative analysis of images.

The whole thymuses were removed during autopsies in young and adult patients not treated with interferon.

Moreover, samples of thymus were removed from patients, either young or adult who had previously been treated with interferon therapy, and subjected, for diagnostic reasons, to thymic biopsy.

All samples of thymus were weighed, measured and dissected.

Thymic slices were stained with Eosin-orange for detection of the microanatomical details, or with Bodian's reaction for recognition of nervous structures.

Histofluorescence microscopy was used for detection of ANF, and immunofluorescence microscopy for recognition of NPY-like immunoreactive structures.

All morphological results were subjected to quantitative analysis of images.

Noradrenaline contained in thymic structures was measured by biochemical methods.

Our results only concerned the effects of the therapy and suggested that treatment with interferon therapy induces many changes in the thymic structures:

(1) The protein content of thymus is significantly increased;

(2) the NA content in the thymus is also significantly increased;

(3) NPY-like immunoreactive structures in the thymus are significantly increased;

(4) occurrence of NPY-like immunoreactivity is particularly and significantly increased both in thymic microenvironment and in structures resembling nerve fibers;

(5) ANF are significantly increased in the same thymic structures in which NPY-like immunoreactivity is also increased (i.e. thymic microenvironment and structures resembling nerve fibers).

The morphological and biochemical changes observed can also explain the immunological changes induced in the thymus after immunostimulating therapy.

PMID: 11741004 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]