• Folliculo-stellate cell;
  • growth hormone;
  • herbal medicine;
  • Unkei-to

PROBLEM: Cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC) was reported to influence anterior pituitary hormone release. We recently found that Unkei-to, one of the Japanese Kampo medicines, stimulated CINC secretion by rat anterior pituitary cells and the pituitary folliculo-stellate (FS)-like cell line (TtT/GF). Therefore, the effect of Unkei-to on growth hormone (GH) secretion by rat anterior pituitary cells was investigated.

METHOD OF STUDY: Dispersed normal anterior pituitary cells, the folliculo-stellate-like cell line TtT/GF, and the GH3 cell were used to test the effect of Unkei-to on GH secretion. In reconstitutive coculture experiments, TtT/GF cells were mixed with GH3 cells at a ratio (TtT/GF cells: GH3 cells) of 1:99. From this mixture, cells were seeded onto plates at a density of 104 cells/well and were cultured for 5 days. The cells were then used in the experiments.

RESULTS: Unkei-to at 20 μg/ml significantly inhibited GH secretion by normal anterior ptuitary cells within 12 hr of incubation. In contrast Unkei-to stimulated GH secretion by GH3 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, suggesting that an accessory cell type was involved. To assess the contribution of CINC as a paracrine factor, an experiment using a reconstitutive coculture system was performed, and Unkei-to was found to inhibit GH secretion when GH3 cells were cocultured with TtT/GF cells. The addition of anti-CINC antibody to the reconstitutive coculture system antagonized Unkei-to-inhibited GH secretion.

CONCLUSION: CINC, which was secreted from FS cells by Unkei-to, may be responsible for mediating the inhibitory effect of Unkei-to on GH secretion by rat anterior pituitary cells.