Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Contrasting biological activities of thymopoietin and splenin, two closely related polypeptide products of thymus and spleen.

PMID 6585832


Thymopoietin, a 49 amino acid polypeptide hormone of the thymus discovered by its effect on neuromuscular transmission, was later shown to induce T-cell differentiation and to affect immunoregulatory balance. A radioimmunoassay for thymopoietin revealed a crossreaction with a product found in spleen and lymph node but not other tissues. This product, named splenin, differs from thymopoietin only in position 34, aspartic acid for bovine thymopoietin and glutamic acid for bovine splenin. Synthetic pentapeptides corresponding to residues 32-36, called thymopentin and splenopentin, reproduce biological activities of thymopoietin and splenin, respectively. Thus thymopoietin and thymopentin affect neuromuscular transmission and induce the phenotypic differentiation of T precursor cells in vitro while inhibiting phenotypic differentiation of B cells. Splenin and splenopentin, in contrast, do not affect neuromuscular transmission, and they induce both T- and B-cell precursors.