Somatostatin is a neuropeptide that is widely distributed throughout the body. It acts as a neurohormone and a neurotransmitter and may also have an immunomodulatory role. The genes for five subtypes of somatostatin receptors (sst) have been cloned, suggesting that the diverse effects of the peptide might be mediated by different receptors. We are interested in studying the role of sst ininflammation, using an animal model. Because of the up-regulation of sst expression in inflamed joints in human rheumatoid arthritis, we chose rat adjuvant arthritis as an experimental model. In order to determine which of the sst subtypes might be important in immune modulation, subtype expression in leukocytes isolated from different lymphoid tissues of the rat was studied. Also, the expression levels of the most abundantly expressed sst mRNAs in leukocytes from spleen and blood were compared in rats with adjuvantarthritis and controls, using a semi-quantitative approach. Furthermore, the effect of systemic administration of a long-acting somatostatin analogue, octreotide, which binds selectively to sst subtypes 2 and 5 (sst2 and sst5), on the incidence and the severity of rat adjuvant arthritis, was studied. The main sst expressed in cells of the rat immune system, both resting and activated, were found to be sst3 and sst4. This contrasts with the human and murine situations, in which sst2 appears to be the main subtype expressed in the immune system. No quantitative differences in sst subtype mRNA levels in leukocytes from spleen and blood were found between rats with adjuvant arthritis and controls. Finally, no effect of systemic administration of octreotide on either the incidence or severity of adjuvant arthritis in Lewis rats was found. As octreotide binds selectively to sst2 and sst5, the absence of an immunomodulatory effect of this analogue in rat adjuvant arthritis corroborates our finding that these sst subtypes are not expressed in cells of the rat immune system. In conclusion, cells of the rat immune system appear to express a spectrum of sst (sst3 and sst4) different from that found in human granulomatous and autoimmune disease (mainly sst2). Therefore, the rat adjuvant arthritis model appears to be suitable only for studying the immunomodulatory effects of somatostatin analogues which have a high affinity for sst3 and sst4, but not for studying the immunomodulatory effects of octreotide, which has a high affinity only for sst2 and sst5.

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hdl.handle.net/1765/9070
Journal of Endocrinology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

ten Bokum, A.M, Lichtenauer-Kaligis, E.G, Melief, M.J, van Koetsveld, P.M, Bruns, C, van Hagen, P.M, … Hazenberg, M.P.H. (1999). Somatostatin receptor subtype expression in cells of the rat immune system during adjuvant arthritis. Journal of Endocrinology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/9070