Bovine adrenal cells secrete interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor in vitro

Gerald B. Call, Omar F. Husein, Christopher J. McIlmoil, Andrew Adams, Richard A. Heckmann, Allan M. Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are secreted and/or synthesized by the rat and human adrenal cortex. In this study, the release of IL-6 and TNF from bovine adrenal cells was determined. Bovine adrenal glands were collected from an abattoir and dissected into the zona glomerulosa (ZG), zona fasciculata (ZF), zona reticularis (ZR), and medulla. The tissues were enzymatically dispersed to single cells and cultured for 4-6 days. The cells were then exposed (4 h) to angiotensin II (All), adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), phorbol dibutyrate (PDB), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-1α (IL-1α), and endotoxin (LPS). The IL-6 and TNF content of the incubation medium was determined by bioassays. The release of IL-6 and TNF from the ZG, ZF, ZR, and medulla was increased by PDB, IL-1α, IL-1α, and LPS. In contrast, ACTH and AII increased IL-6 release from the ZG, ZF, and ZR but had no effect on IL-6 release from the medulla. ACTH decreased TNF release from all adrenal cortical zones but had no effect on TNF release from the medulla. Immunohistochemistry utilizing antibodies against TNFα demonstrated TNFαcontaining cells throughout the adrenal gland. The majority of the cells of the ZG, ZF, and ZR contained TNFα. However, the cells of the ZG contained more TNFα. than the cells of the ZR or ZF. Small patches of TNFα-containing cells were also found in the adrenal medulla and capsule. These findings support the hypothesis that IL-6 and TNF may have autocrine/paracrine effects on the adrenal gland. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-261
Number of pages13
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Brigham Young University College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Zoology for the Professional Development Grant that funded this research. The adrenal tissue for this research was provided by the Deseret Meat Company, Spanish Fork, Utah. Gratitude is expressed for the cooperation of the management and workers of this facility that made this work possible.


  • ACTH
  • Adrenal gland
  • Angiotensin II
  • Cytokine
  • Endotoxin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-l
  • Paracrine regulation
  • Tumor necrosis factor


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