Early postnatal castration affects thymic and thymocyte noradrenaline levels and beta-adrenoceptor-mediated influence on the thymopoiesis in adult rats

J Neuroimmunol. 2007 Jan;182(1-2):100-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2006.10.004. Epub 2006 Dec 1.


The interactions among the nervous, endocrine and immune system were studied by examining: i) thymic and thymocyte catecholamine levels in adult rats castrated (Cx) at postnatal day 3 and ii) effects of 14-day-long propranolol (P) treatment on main thymocyte differentiational molecule expression in adult non-Cx and Cx rat. The results demonstrated that castration in early postnatal period lowers levels of both neurally- and thymocyte-derived noradrenaline in adult rats, and thereby diminishes beta-adrenoceptor-mediated fine tuning of the T-cell differentiation/maturation. In non-Cx rats P affected TCRalphabeta-dependent stages of thymocyte differentiation/maturation decreasing frequency of CD4+8+ double positive (DP) TCRalphabeta(low) cells entering selection processes and increasing relative number of positively selected DP TCRalphabeta(high) (most likely due to an increased thymocyte surface density of Thy-1 that is involved in negative control of TCRalphabeta-mediated signaling/selection thresholds) and the most mature CD4+8- TCRalphabeta(high) cells (including CD4+25+ regulatory cells). However, in Cx rats P failed to produce any significant changes in thymocyte subset composition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphopoiesis / physiology*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Orchiectomy*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / anatomy & histology
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Thy-1 Antigens
  • Norepinephrine