Pinealectomy alters IFN-γ and IL-10 levels in primary thymocyte culture of rats

Zafer Sahin, Suleyman Sandal, Bayram Yilmaz, Ozgur Bulmus, Gokcen Ozdemir, Selim Kutlu, Ahmet Godekmerdan, Haluk Kelestimur


Melatonin, produced mainly by the pineal gland, has an immunomodulatory role. However, the effects of the pineal gland and/or melatonin on thymus cytokine levels such as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-10 are not well known. Twenty-one male Wistar rats (220-250 gr) were randomly divided into three groups (n=7): intact control, sham, and pinealectomy. Primary thymocyte cultures were prepared from each group and dispensed into well plates as Control, DMSO (or vehicle), Sham-pinealectomy, Pinealectomy, Pinealectomy+10µM melatonin, and Pinealectomy+100µM melatonin. IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-10 concentrations were measured in the thymocytes (as nonstimulated and Concanavalin A-stimulated) after 24 h. IFN-γ levels significantly increased and IL-10 levels significantly decreased in both media prepared from pinealectomized rats. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of IL-4. In the pinealectomy+10µM melatonin group, IFN-γ and IL-10 levels did not differ from the pinealectomy group. However, the dose of 100µM melatonin caused a decrease in levels of IFN-γ in both thymocyte media and an increase in the concentration of IL-10 in Concanavalin A-stimulated thymocytes. In conclusion, pineal gland and/or melatonin affect IFN-γ and IL-10 levels in the thymus gland.


Pineal gland; Melatonin; Cytokine; Thymocyte; T helper; Rat.

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