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      Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone and Pro-Opiomelanocortin Gene Expression in Female Monkeys with Differences in Sensitivity to Stress

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          Abstract

          Background/Aims: The expressions of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) were assessed in brain tissue collected from nonstressed female cynomolgus monkeys previously categorized as highly stress resilient (HSR), medium stress resilient (MSR), or stress sensitive (SS) with respect to stress-induced anovulation. Methods: In situ hybridization and quantitative image analysis was used to measure mRNAs coding for CRH in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and thalamic center median-subfascicular complex (CM-Sf). Then, CRH neurons in the PVN were immunostained and the area of immunostaining was measured. Also, CRH fibers were immunostained in the central nucleus of the amygdala and the area of immunostaining was obtained. Finally, POMC mRNA expression was characterized in the hypothalamic infundibular nucleus. The groups were compared with ANOVA and Student-Newman-Keul’s (SNK) post hoc comparison. Results: CRH mRNA was significantly elevated in the caudal PVN in the MSR and SS animals compared to HSR animals (p < 0.05, SNK). There was a significant increase in average and total CRH-positive area in the MSR and SS groups compared to the HSR group (p < 0.05, SNK). There was also a significant increase in CRH volume in the MSR and SS groups compared to the HSR group (p < 0.05, SNK). In the CM-Sf, the average CRH optical density was significantly higher in the MSR and SS groups than in the HSR group (p < 0.05, SNK). In the central nucleus of the amygdala, the area of CRH fiber staining was significantly higher in the SS group than in the MSR or HSR groups (p < 0.05, SNK). There was no difference between the groups in POMC mRNA expression in the mediobasal hypothalamus. Conclusion: Macaques that exhibit immediate suppression of reproductive function upon stress are considered stress sensitive. These animals have elevated CRH in the hypothalamus and limbic structures, which may play a role in suppressing the hypothalamic-gonadal axis upon stress initiation.

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          Most cited references 38

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          The role of the central nucleus of the amygdala in mediating fear and anxiety in the primate.

          Numerous studies demonstrate that the rhesus monkey is an excellent species with which to investigate mechanisms underlying human emotion and psychopathology. To examine the role of the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) in mediating the behavioral and physiological responses associated with fear and anxiety, we used rhesus monkeys to assess the effects of excitotoxic lesions of the CeA. Behavioral and physiological responses of nine monkeys with bilateral CeA destruction (ranging from 46 to 98%) were compared with five animals with asymmetric lesions (42-86.5% destruction on the most affected side) and with 16 unoperated controls. Results suggest that similar to rodent species, the primate CeA plays a role in mediating fear- and anxiety-related behavioral and endocrine responses. Compared with controls and the asymmetric-lesion group, bilaterally lesioned monkeys displayed significantly less fear-related behavior when exposed to a snake and less freezing behavior when confronted by a human intruder. In addition, bilaterally lesioned monkeys had decreased levels of CSF corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), and both lesioned groups had decreased plasma ACTH concentrations. In contrast to these findings, patterns of asymmetric frontal brain electrical activity, as assessed by regional scalp EEG, did not significantly differ between control and lesioned monkeys. These findings suggest that in primates, the CeA is involved in mediating fear- and anxiety-related behavioral and pituitary-adrenal responses as well as in modulating brain CRF activity.
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            Increased Numbers of Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Expressing Neurons in the Hypothalamic Paraventricular Nucleus of Depressed Patients

            The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is known to be activated in depressed patients. Although direct evidence is lacking, this activation is hypothesized to be due to hyperactivity of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Recent immunocytochemical studies in experimental animals and in humans showed that the number of CRH-expressing neurons correlated with the activity of these neurons. In addition, colocalization of AVP in CRH neurons has been shown to be an index for the secretory activity. Therefore, we estimated the total number of CRH-immunoreactive neurons and their fraction showing colocalization with AVP in the PVN of 10 control subjects and of 6 depressed patients who were diagnosed to be suffering from a major depression or a bipolar disorder. The mean total number of CRH-expressing neurons of the 6 depressed patients was four times higher, and the number of CRH neurons co-expressing AVP was almost three times higher than those in the control group. We also determined the two activity parameters of CRH neurons in the PVN of 2 subjects with a depressive organic mood syndrome or a depressive disorder not otherwise specified. In these two ‘non-major depressed’ subjects, the activity parameters of CRH neurons were comparable to those of control subjects. Our observations strongly support the hypothesis that CRH neurons in the PVN are hyperactivated in major depressed patients. This hyperactivity might be causally related to at least part of the symptomatology of depression.
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              Forebrain afferents to the rat dorsal raphe nucleus demonstrated by retrograde and anterograde tracing methods.

              The dorsal raphe nucleus through its extensive efferents has been implicated in a great variety of physiological and behavioural functions. However, little is know about its afferents. Therefore, to identify the systems likely to influence the activity of serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe nucleus, we re-examined the forebrain afferents to the dorsal raphe nucleus using cholera toxin b subunit and Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin as retrograde or anterograde tracers. With small cholera toxin b subunit injection sites, we further determined the specific afferents to the ventral and dorsal parts of the central dorsal raphe nucleus, the rostral dorsal raphe nucleus and the lateral wings. In agreement with previous studies, we observed a large number of retrogradely-labelled cells in the lateral habenula following injections in all subdivisions of the dorsal raphe nucleus. In addition, depending on the subdivision of the dorsal raphe nucleus injected, we observed a small to large number of retrogradely-labelled cells in the orbital, cingulate, infralimbic, dorsal peduncular, and insular cortice, a moderate or substantial number in the ventral pallidum and a small to substantial number in the claustrum. In addition, we observed a substantial to large number of cells in the medial and lateral preoptic areas and the medial preoptic nucleus after cholera toxin b subunit injections in the dorsal raphe nucleus excepting for those located in the ventral part of the central dorsal raphe nucleus, after which we found a moderate number of retrogradely-labelled cells. Following cholera toxin b subunit injections in the dorsal part of the central dorsal raphe nucleus, a large number of retrogradely-labelled cells was seen in the lateral, ventral and medial parts of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis whereas only a small to moderate number was visualized after injections in the other dorsal raphe nucleus subdivisions. In addition, respectively, a substantial and a moderate number of retrogradely-labelled cells was distributed in the zona incerta and the subincertal nucleus following all tracer injections in the dorsal raphe nucleus. A large number of retrogradely-labelled cells was also visualized in the lateral, dorsal and posterior hypothalamic areas and the perifornical nucleus after cholera toxin b subunit injections in the dorsal part of the central raphe nucleus and to a lesser extent following injections in the other subdivisions. We further observed a substantial to large number of retrogradely-labelled cells in the tuber cinereum and the medial tuberal nucleus following cholera toxin b subunit injections in the dorsal part of the central dorsal raphe nucleus or the lateral wings and a small to moderate number after injections in the two other dorsal raphe nucleus subdivisions. A moderate or substantial number of labelled cells was also seen in the ventromedial hypothalamic area and the arcuate nucleus following cholera toxin injections in the dorsal part of the central dorsal raphe nucleus and the lateral wings and an occasional or small number with injection sites located in the other subdivisions. Finally, we observed, respectively, a moderate and a substantial number of retrogradely-labelled cells in the central nucleus of the amygdala following tracer injections in the ventral or dorsal parts of the central dorsal raphe nucleus and a small number after injections in the other subnuclei. In agreement with these retrograde data, we visualized anterogradely-labelled fibres heterogeneously distributed in the dorsal raphe nucleus following Phaseolus vulgaris-leucoagglutinin injections in the lateral orbital or infralimbic cortice, the lateral preoptic area, the perifornical nucleus, the lateral or posterior hypothalamic areas, the zona incerta, the subincertal nucleus or the medial tuberal nucleus. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEN
                Neuroendocrinology
                10.1159/issn.0028-3835
                Neuroendocrinology
                S. Karger AG
                0028-3835
                1423-0194
                2007
                November 2007
                11 October 2007
                : 86
                : 4
                : 277-288
                Affiliations
                aDivisions of Reproductive Sciences and bNeuroscience,Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oreg., cDepartments of Behavioral Neuroscience and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oreg., and dDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA
                Article
                109877 Neuroendocrinology 2007;86:277–288
                10.1159/000109877
                17934253
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 8, References: 55, Pages: 12
                Categories
                CRF, Adrenocorticotropin, Adrenal Steroids and Stress

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