Central activin administration modulates corticotropin-releasing hormone and adrenocorticotropin secretion

P M Plotsky, A Kjaer, S W Sutton, P E Sawchenko, W Vale

61 Citationer (Scopus)


A broad and diffuse neuronal network conveys information reflecting the state of the internal and external environment to the neurosecretory hypothalamus. Recently, we identified an inhibin-beta A- (I beta A) immunoreactive terminal field within the CRF-rich portion of the dorsomedial paraventricular nucleus which originates from a cell group in the commissural portion of the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). The NTS receives baroreceptor input, somatosensory input via the spinosolitary tract, and sensory information from the oral, thoracic, and abdominal cavities and, thus, is positioned to serve as a primary relay for visceral sensory inputs to neurons critical to the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Although these NTS cells contain multiple putative transmitters, we present evidence that activin, an inhibin-beta A dimer, plays a modulatory role in HPA axis function via facilitation of CRF release. First, intraventricular injection of activin-A (0-3 nmol), but not the related inhibin heterodimer, evoked dose-related 1.7- to 2.8-fold elevations of circulating ACTH levels in male rats. Second, analysis of hypophysial-portal plasma after bilateral paraventricular nucleus microinfusion of activin-A revealed a dose-related facilitation of CRF secretion up to 4-fold above preinjection levels which was unaccompanied by changes in arginine vasopressin levels. Finally, activin-A also enhanced CRF secretion from neonatal hypothalamic cells in primary culture with an EC50 dose of approximately 0.25 nM. Overall, these observations provide evidence of both an anatomical and a pharmacological substrate for activin-mediated central modulation of HPA axis function.

Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)2520-5
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - maj 1991


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