Porcine natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity, plasma cortisol, total white blood cells (WBC), neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio (N:L), and circulating blood leukocytes were examined from pigs injected i.v. with either saline, ACTH, cortisol, or treated with metyrapone. Plasma cortisol increased (P < .05) after ACTH and cortisol treatments and decreased (P < .05) after metyrapone treatment; thus, treatments had the intended effects on in vivo cortisol concentrations. In Exp. 1, pigs were injected with either saline or ACTH at 0600 after the initial blood samples were taken (time 0). The ACTH had no effect (P > .10) on NK cytotoxicity. Pigs injected i.v. with ACTH had fewer lymphocytes and more neutrophils (P < .05) than control pigs. The N:L ratio was greater (P < .05) among ACTH-injected than among control pigs. In Exp. 2, pigs were injected i.v. with either saline or 40 or 400 μg of cortisol at 0600 after the initial blood samples were obtained (time 0). Cortisol at 40 μg had no effect (P > .10) on NK cytotoxicity. However, a 400-μg bolus of cortisol reduced (P < .05) NK cytotoxicity (control = 39.5, cortisol = 28.3% cytotoxicity, SEM = 3.7). Each dose of cortisol reduced (P < .05) circulating blood lymphocyte numbers. In Exp. 3, pigs were fed 1 g of metyrapone or no metyrapone the night before sampling. Blood samples were obtained at 0600, 0700, and 0800. Metyrapone reduced (P < .05) NK cytotoxicity (control = 28.6, metyrapone = 11.8%, SEM = 1.9). Pigs treated with metyrapone had greater (P < .05) numbers of neutrophils than control pigs. Numbers of lymphocytes were greater (P < .05) among control than among treated pigs. Pigs treated with metyrapone had a greater (P < .05) N:L ratio than control pigs. In conclusion, normal physiological concentrations or moderately increased blood cortisol concentrations did not influence NK activity, although leukocyte distributions were changed. We conclude that greatly increased or greatly decreased circulating concentrations of cortisol reduced NK cytotoxicity.
- Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
- Natural Killer Cells