Intestinal TSH production is localized in crypt enterocytes and in villus 'hotblocks' and is coupled to IL-7 production: Evidence for involvement of TSH during acute enteric virus infection

Virginia L. Scofield, Dina Montufar-Solis, Elly Cheng, Mary K. Estes, John R. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


The immune and neuroendocrine systems have been shown to work conjointly in a number of ways. One aspect of this has to do with a potential role for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the regulation of the mucosal immune system, although the mechanisms by which this occurs remain vague. To more thoroughly understand how TSH participates in intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL) development and immunity, experiments have been conducted to define local sites of intestinal TSH production, and to characterize changes that occur in the synthesis of TSH during acute enteric virus infection. Here, we demonstrate that TSH in the small intestine is specifically localized to regions below villus crypts as seen by immunocytochemical staining, which revealed high-level TSH staining in lower crypts in the absence of IL-7 staining, and TSH and IL-7 co-staining in upper crypt regions. Additionally, prominent TSH staining was evident in TSH 'hotblocks' sparsely dispersed throughout the epithelial layer. In rotavirus-infected mice, the TSH staining pattern differed significantly from that of non-infected animals. Notably, at 2 and 3 days post-infection, TSH expression was high in and near apical villi where virus infection was greatest. These findings lend credence to the notion that TSH plays a role both in the development of intestinal T cells, and in the process of local immunity during enteric virus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2005



  • Endocrine
  • Enteric
  • Hormone
  • Immunity
  • Rotavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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