The involvement of pineal gland and melatonin in immunity and aging. I. Thymus-mediated, immunoreconstituting and antiviral activity of thyrotropin-releasing hormone

J Neuroimmunol. 1990 May;27(2-3):99-109. doi: 10.1016/0165-5728(90)90059-v.


Circadian, continued treatment with melatonin during the dark cycle produces changes in the blood level of thyroid hormones in aging mice. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) antagonize the involution of the thymus produced by prednisolone. This effect of TRH does not seem thyroid dependent. TRH restores antibody production in non-responder athymic nude mice but does not exert this effect in neonatally thymectomized mice. Moreover, this activity does not correlate with thyroxine levels. TRH exerts a powerful protective effect in mice challenged with encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus. Presumably pineal melatonin exerts its varied regulatory functions via hypothalamic TRH.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Encephalomyocarditis virus / immunology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Melatonin / pharmacology
  • Melatonin / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pineal Gland / physiology*
  • Prednisolone / pharmacology
  • Thymus Gland / physiology*
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood
  • Thyrotropin / pharmacology
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology*
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Thyrotropin
  • Prednisolone
  • Melatonin