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      Ontogeny of hypothalamic glucocorticoid receptor-mediated inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in mice

      , ,

      Stress

      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="P1">Glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) are important regulators of negative feedback regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Previous evaluation of endogenous PVN GR function in adult mice demonstrated that mice with loss of GR exon 3 in the PVN (Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ) have a hyperactive HPA axis, growth impairment, and metabolic disruptions. Here, we hypothesized that lack of negative feedback inhibition of the HPA axis through PVN GR, as demonstrated through loss of PVN GR early in life, will have developmental-stage-specific consequences. Immunofluorescence revealed that Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice display PVN GR loss as early as postnatal day 2 compared to control mice. Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice compared to controls also displayed increased corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) mRNA in the PVN at postnatal day 10, as shown by <i>in situ</i> hybridization. Corticosterone radioimmunoassay revealed that the disruptions in PVN GR and CRH expression led to elevated basal corticosterone secretion in male Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice by early adolescence and increased stress-induced (restraint) corticosterone secretion in late adolescence into adulthood. In comparison, female Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice did not display corticosterone disruption until adulthood. Circadian rhythmicity of corticosterone secretion was normal for male and female mice at all age groups regardless of genotype with one exception. In late adolescence, female Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice had disrupted circadian corticosterone secretion due to significantly elevated circulating levels at nadir. We conclude that PVN GR function matures at an earlier developmental time point in male than in female mice and thus leads to later differential stress responsiveness between sexes. </p>

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          Most cited references 44

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          Disruption of the glucocorticoid receptor gene in the nervous system results in reduced anxiety.

          The glucocorticoid receptor (Gr, encoded by the gene Grl1) controls transcription of target genes both directly by interaction with DNA regulatory elements and indirectly by cross-talk with other transcription factors. In response to various stimuli, including stress, glucocorticoids coordinate metabolic, endocrine, immune and nervous system responses and ensure an adequate profile of transcription. In the brain, Gr has been proposed to modulate emotional behaviour, cognitive functions and addictive states. Previously, these aspects were not studied in the absence of functional Gr because inactivation of Grl1 in mice causes lethality at birth (F.T., C.K. and G.S., unpublished data). Therefore, we generated tissue-specific mutations of this gene using the Cre/loxP -recombination system. This allowed us to generate viable adult mice with loss of Gr function in selected tissues. Loss of Gr function in the nervous system impairs hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis regulation, resulting in increased glucocorticoid (GC) levels that lead to symptoms reminiscent of those observed in Cushing syndrome. Conditional mutagenesis of Gr in the nervous system provides genetic evidence for the importance of Gr signalling in emotional behaviour because mutant animals show an impaired behavioural response to stress and display reduced anxiety.
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            How Do Glucocorticoids Influence Stress Responses? Integrating Permissive, Suppressive, Stimulatory, and Preparative Actions

             R M Sapolsky (2000)
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              The teen brain: insights from neuroimaging.

               Jay Giedd (2008)
              Few parents of a teenager are surprised to hear that the brain of a 16-year-old is different from the brain of an 8-year-old. Yet to pin down these differences in a rigorous scientific way has been elusive. Magnetic resonance imaging, with the capacity to provide exquisitely accurate quantifications of brain anatomy and physiology without the use of ionizing radiation, has launched a new era of adolescent neuroscience. Longitudinal studies of subjects from ages 3-30 years demonstrate a general pattern of childhood peaks of gray matter followed by adolescent declines, functional and structural increases in connectivity and integrative processing, and a changing balance between limbic/subcortical and frontal lobe functions, extending well into young adulthood. Although overinterpretation and premature application of neuroimaging findings for diagnostic purposes remains a risk, converging data from multiple imaging modalities is beginning to elucidate the implications of these brain changes on cognition, emotion, and behavior.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Stress
                Stress
                Informa UK Limited
                1025-3890
                1607-8888
                July 15 2015
                July 04 2015
                June 11 2015
                July 04 2015
                : 18
                : 4
                : 400-407
                Article
                10.3109/10253890.2015.1046832
                5704948
                26068518
                © 2015

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