NYMC Faculty Publications


Glucocorticoid Withdrawal Affects Stress-Induced Changes of Urocortin 2 Gene Expression in Rat Adrenal Medulla and Brain

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Publication Date

May 2018


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Corticotropin-releasing factor is well known activator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, that represents crucial system participating on stress response of the organism. Urocortins are members of the corticotropin-releasing factor family of peptides with proposed effects on neuroendocrine and behavioral stress response mechanisms. Urocortin 2, one of three known urocortins, is present in central and peripheral stress response system and its expression can be augmented by glucocorticoids. In the present study we have examined how glucocorticoid withdrawal affects urocortin 2 gene expression after acute immobilization in the adrenal medulla and selected brain areas in rats. We used pharmacological adrenalectomy to block synthesis of corticosterone. Our results show that the immobilization-induced rise in urocortin 2 mRNA levels in rat adrenal medulla was not inhibited by glucocorticoid withdrawal. On the other hand, observed changes in the brain indicate that the effect of stress and pharmacological adrenalectomy on urocortin 2 gene expression is site-specific. While in the paraventricular nucleus and locus coeruleus the immobilization induced rise of urocortin 2 was not inhibited by pharmacological adrenalectomy in the arcuate nucleus and central amygdala it was. Moreover, we have seen a significant depletion of urocortin 2 plasma levels after immobilization. The immobilization induced rise of urocortin 2 gene expression in rat adrenal medulla and brain areas regulating stress response pathways and preservation of its induction after adrenalectomy suggests a role of urocortin 2 in the neuroendocrine stress response of an organism. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.