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Developmental Immunology
Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 131-140

The Recognition of Hypothalamo-Neurohypophysial Functions by Developing T Cells

1Laboratory of Radioimmunology, Neuroendocrine-Immunology Unit, CHU-B23, University of Liège-Sart Tilman, Liège B-4000, Belgium
2Laboratory of Pathological Neuroanatomy, CHU-B23, University of Liège-Sart Tilman, Liège B-4000, Belgium

Copyright © 1992 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuropeptide signals and specific neuropeptide receptors have been described in the thymus supporting the concept of a close dialogue between the neuroendocrine and the immune systems at the level of early T-cell differentiation. In this paper, we review recent data about neurohypophysial (NHP)-related peptides detected in the thymus from different species. We suggest that we are dealing in fact with other member(s) of the NHP hormone family, which seems to exert its activity locally through a novel model of cell-to-cell signaling, that of cryptocrine communication. This model involves exchange of signals between thymic epithelial cells and developing thymocytes. The NHP-related peptides have been shown to trigger thymocyte proliferation and could induce immune tolerance of this highly conserved neuroendocrine family.