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Regulation and Actions of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone

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The sections in this article are:

1 Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Expression
2 Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Receptors
3 Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone‐Binding Protein
4 Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone‐Like Molecules
5 Regulation of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Expression
5.1 Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Gene Structure
5.2 Intracellular Second Messengers That Regulate Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Gene Expression
5.3 Extracellular Ligands That Regulate Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone Expression and Release
6 Regulation of the Hypothalamic‐Pituitary‐Adrenal Axis
6.1 Role of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone in Stimulating Corticotropin Synthesis and Release
6.2 Other Corticotropin‐Releasing Factors
6.3 Role of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone in Circadian Rhythm Generation of the Hypothalamic‐Pituitary‐Adrenal Axis
6.4 Role of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone in Fetal Development
7 Role of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone in Responses to Physiological and Psychological Stressors
7.1 Acute Stressors
7.2 Chronic Stressors
8 Role of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone in Regulating Other Neuroendocrine Functions
8.1 Behavior
8.2 Appetite
8.3 Reproduction
8.4 Autonomic Function
9 Conclusion
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Postulated actions of central CRH. Corticotropin‐releasing hormone in the parvocellular neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVHpc) is a key component in the regulation of the HPA axis through stimulation of corticotropin production and/or secretion from the anterior pituitary. Vasopressin may also play a role in regulation of the axis. Other postulated central actions of hypothalamic CRH are control of sympathetic outflow, and inhibition of reproductive functions, growth, and appetite. In addition, CRH in the amygdala has been implicated in the behavioral response to stress.

Figure 2. Figure 2.

Comparison of the amino acid sequences of the mature peptides of mouse CRH (mCRH) and mouse urocortin (mUcn).

Figure 3. Figure 3.

Corticotropin‐releasing hormone‐deficient mice exhibit an abnormal, sexually dimorphic response to stress. Corticosterone measurements were taken by tail bleed 1 hr after lights on (pre‐stress), again following 20 min of restraint (restraint), and finally, 5 min after ether exposure with continued restraint (ether + restraint). Although the responses of CRH‐deficient (Ko) mice were significantly blunted as compared to wild‐type mice, CRH‐deficient females had a 9‐fold greater corticosterone response than CRH‐deficient males.

Reprinted from reference , with permission

Figure 1.

Postulated actions of central CRH. Corticotropin‐releasing hormone in the parvocellular neurons of the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVHpc) is a key component in the regulation of the HPA axis through stimulation of corticotropin production and/or secretion from the anterior pituitary. Vasopressin may also play a role in regulation of the axis. Other postulated central actions of hypothalamic CRH are control of sympathetic outflow, and inhibition of reproductive functions, growth, and appetite. In addition, CRH in the amygdala has been implicated in the behavioral response to stress.

Figure 2.

Comparison of the amino acid sequences of the mature peptides of mouse CRH (mCRH) and mouse urocortin (mUcn).

Figure 3.

Corticotropin‐releasing hormone‐deficient mice exhibit an abnormal, sexually dimorphic response to stress. Corticosterone measurements were taken by tail bleed 1 hr after lights on (pre‐stress), again following 20 min of restraint (restraint), and finally, 5 min after ether exposure with continued restraint (ether + restraint). Although the responses of CRH‐deficient (Ko) mice were significantly blunted as compared to wild‐type mice, CRH‐deficient females had a 9‐fold greater corticosterone response than CRH‐deficient males.

Reprinted from reference , with permission
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Stacie C. Weninger, Joseph A. Majzoub. Regulation and Actions of Corticotropin‐Releasing Hormone. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 23: Handbook of Physiology, The Endocrine System, Coping with the Environment: Neural and Endocrine Mechanisms: 103-124. First published in print 2001. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp070406