Urocortin increases IL-4 and IL-10 secretion and reverses LPS-induced TNF-alpha release from human trophoblast primary cells

Michela Torricelli, Chiara Voltolini, Enrrico Bloise, Giulia Biliotti, Alessia Giovannelli, Maria De Bonis, Alberto Imperatore, Felice Petraglia
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology: AJRI 2009, 62 (4): 224-31

PROBLEM: As urocortin (Ucn) is a placental peptide belonging to the corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) family that modulates immune function in other biological models, this study evaluated Ucn effects on cytokines secretion from cultured human trophoblast cells.

METHOD OF STUDY: Placentas were collected from normal term pregnancies after elective caesarean section, and primary trophoblast culture was prepared followed by the treatment of Ucn and/or CRH selective antagonists, antalarmin and astressin 2b. The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 and the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha were measured by ELISA.

RESULTS: Urocortin treatment induced a significant and dose-dependent increase of IL-4 and IL-10, whereas it did not affect TNF-alpha secretion. When incubated in the presence of LPS, Ucn reversed LPS-induced TNF-alpha release from cultured trophoblast cells, an effect that was blocked by the CRH-R2 selective antagonist, astressin 2b.

CONCLUSION: Urocortin stimulates IL-4 and IL-10 secretion and reverses LPS-induced TNF-alpha release from trophoblast cells through action on CRH-R2 receptors, suggesting that this peptide may play a possible role as an anti-inflammatory agent.

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