Affiliations: Centro de investigación sobre Enfermedades Infecciosas. Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México | Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, AP, México Distrito Federal, México | Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Note:  Correspondence to: Dr. Jorge Morales Montor, Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México D.F., AP 70228, México. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Pituitary hormones have a large number of functions such as the regulation of stress response, electrolytic balance and reproduction. These include prolactin, growth hormone, oxytocin, vasopressin and ACTH, among others. Their synthesis and function depends on signals, constituted by the binding of the same hormones to specific receptors and induce or inhibit their synthesis or secretion. However, this is not the only regulatory mechanism of the pituitary hormone pathway. It has been observed that the neuroendocrine axes also interact with the immune system. This multi-directional communication between these systems has currently been accepted: pituitary hormones can regulate the functions of the immune system, and molecules secreted by the immune system modulate pituitary hormone function. This is the case of cytokines, which are secreted by different immunological cells and regulate their function. These molecules play a key role in the regulation by direct or indirect communication between the immunological and neuroendocrine systems and their production is influenced by the direct action of pituitary hormones and neurohormones on immune system cells. The action of some of the main pituitary hormones on the immunological system is summarized in this review.