Potential role of type i interferons in the treatment of pituitary adenomas
Cytokines, particularly those endowed with pro-inflammatory properties, are known to influence the release of anterior pituitary hormones by a direct and indirect action at the level of pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Type I interferons (IFNs) represent a group of cytokines that act through a common receptor composed by two chains (IFNAR-1 and IFNAR-2). Several in vitro and in vivo studies underline the fact that type I IFNs are involved in the regulation of the immune-endocrine circuitry. Treatment with type I IFNs of patients affected by chronic viral hepatitis, multiple sclerosis and tumors influences the secretion of pituitary hormones. This article reviews the current knowledge about the effects of IFN-α and IFN-β on hypothalamic-pituitary function and describes the potential role of type I IFNs in the treatment of pituitary adenomas.