The pineal gland is a neuroendocrine organ that transduces the photic environmental information to the rest of the body through the nocturnal production of melatonin. Our group and others have been demonstrating that, besides the chronobiological effects, the pineal gland is also actively involved in the mounting and in the resolution of an inflammatory response. In the context of this immune-pineal axis, in one hand, inflammatory mediators (tumor necrosis factor, for example) decrease the pineal melatonin production. On the other hand, immunological modulators produced in subsequent phases of the inflammatory responses (interferon-gamma, for example) increase melatonin production leading to the recovery of the pineal function. Interleukyne-10 (IL-10) is an important cytokine that is produced by several immunological cells. The function of this cytokine is dependent on the cellular context that is analyzed. In the present project we will analyze the effects of IL-10 on the hormonal production of cultured rat pineal glands. We will also analyze if this cytokine alters the expression of genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of melatonin. This study will increase our understanding about the responsiveness of the pineal gland to immunological modulators with different actions during an inflammatory process.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: