The systemic inflammatory response syndrome is a complex host response to a variety of clinical insults, generally leading to severe pathology. The human chorionic gonadotropin beta-chain-related tetrapeptide leucine-glutamine-glycine-valine (LQGV) reduces hemorrhagic and LPS-induced systemic inflammatory response syndrome, but its mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood. Through the combination of in vivo, in vitro, and ex vivo approaches, we demonstrate that LQGV actively stimulates corticosterone production in mice and thereby suppresses in vivo TLR4-directed inflammation upon LPS administration. Blocking in vivo glucocorticosteroid receptor signaling reduced the prosurvival effect of LQGV. Also, upon multiple TLR activation by heat-killed Listeria monocytogenes, splenocytes from LQGV-treated mice produced significantly less TNF-alpha and IL-6, which was absent after in vitro blockage of the glucocorticosteroid receptor. Using adrenal gland and adrenal cell line cultures, we show that LQGV stimulates corticosterone production. Moreover, by using specific pharmacological inhibitors of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and luteinizing hormone receptors as well as of cAMP signaling, we demonstrate that LQGV stimulates the ACTH receptor. These data show that the beta-human chorionic gonadotropin-related tetrapeptide LQGV stimulates adrenal glucocorticosteroid production through activation of the ACTH receptor with consequent glucocorticoid receptor activation and immunosuppression in C57BL/6 mice. The Journal of Immunology, 2010, 185: 5066-5073.
- EMC MM-02-72-01