Abstract

Immunoreactive oxytocin and neurophysin were identified and measured by radioimmunoassay in human thymus extracts. Serial dilutions of extracts paralleled the appropriate standard curves. Thymus-extracted oxytocin and neurophysin eluted in the same positions as reference preparations on Sephadex G-75. Authenticity of oxytocin was confirmed by biological assay and high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. In most instances, thymus contents of oxytocin and neurophysin were far greater than those expected from known circulating concentrations and declined with increasing age. The molar ratio of oxytocin to neurophysin in thymus was similar to that found in the hypothalamo-neurohypophyseal system, which strongly suggested with the other data a local synthesis of oxytocin. These findings indicate the presence of neurohypophyseal peptides in the human thymus and further support the concept of a neuroendocrine function integrated in an immune structure.

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