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.

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Keywords ACTH, GH, Hypothalamic-pituitary function, Pituitary adenomas, Type I interferons
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Journal Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders
Vitale, G, Caraglia, M, van Koetsveld, P.M, Maroni, P, Marra, M, Colao, A, … Hofland, L.J. (2009). Potential role of type i interferons in the treatment of pituitary adenomas. Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders (Vol. 10, pp. 125–133). doi:10.1007/s11154-008-9083-3