Adrenomedullin stimulates proliferation and inhibits apoptosis of immature rat thymocytes cultured in vitro

Anna S Belloni, Marcin Trejter, Ludwik K Malendowicz, Gastone G Nussdorfer
Peptides 2003, 24 (2): 295-300
Adrenomedullin (AM) is a hypotensive peptide, which derives from the proteolytic cleavage of pro(p)AM, and acts through two subtypes of receptors, named L1-receptor (L1-R) and calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR). CRLR functions as either a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor or a selective AM receptor depending on which member of a family of receptor-activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs) is expressed: RAMP1 generates CGRP receptors, while RAMP2 and RAMP3 produce AM receptors. Reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) consistently allowed the detection of pAM and peptidyl-glycine alpha-amidating monooxygenase (the enzyme converting immature AM to the mature peptide) mRNAs in the thymus cortex of immature (10-day-old) rats. Accordingly, radioimmune assay (RIA) measured low but sizeable AM concentrations in this tissue. RT-PCR also demonstrated the presence of the specific mRNAs of L1-R, CRLR and RAMPs. AM (from 10(-9) to 10(-7)M) increased proliferation index and lowered apoptotic index of cultured immature rat thymocytes, and the effects were annulled by the AM receptor antagonist AM(22-52). In conclusion, our study demonstrated that (1) immature rat thymus cortex expresses AM and the AM receptors L1-R and CRLR/RAMP; and (2) AM, acting via AM(22-52)-sensitive receptors, exerts a potent growth promoting effect on immature rat thymus, by enhancing proliferation and lowering apoptotic death of thymocytes. Taken together, these findings could suggest that AM may play a role in the development of immunity.

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