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      Effect of Exogenous Nitric Oxide and Inhibitors of Nitric Oxide Synthase on the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis Responses to Neural Stimuli

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          It has been shown that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis responses to immune-derived stimuli in particular can be modulated by nitric oxide (NO). In the present study we examined the effect of endogenous and exogenous NO on the HPA axis responses to neural stimuli which are not related to immune functions. Intracerebroventricular injection of NOR-3, a donor of NO, had no effect on basal HPA axis activity but significantly attenuated the secretion of median eminence (ME) CRH-41 as well as the serum ACTH and corticosterone (CS) in response to acute photic stimulation in a dose-dependent manner. Intracerebroventricular administration of N-ω-nitro- L-arginine methyl ester ( L-NAME), a general NOS inhibitor, significantly enhanced ACTH and CS responses to this stress but did not change the basal levels of these hormones. On the other hand, i.c.v. injection of aminoguanidine, an inhibitor of inducible NO synthase (NOS) but not of neuronal NOS, did not affect the HPA axis responses to photic stimulation. These results suggest that: (1) NO is involved in modulation of the HPA axis responses to neural stimuli which are not dependent on immune factors, (2) the effect of NO is mediated by inhibition of hypothalamic ME CRH-41 secretion, and (3) this effect is probably mediated by neuronal NOS and not by inducible NOS.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Evidence for the involvement of the central adrenergic system in interleukin 1-induced adrenocortical response.

          The role of central catecholamines in the mediation of adrenocortical activation, induced by interleukin 1 (IL-1), was investigated by measuring ACTH and corticosterone in serum. Adult male rats were injected with either vehicle or the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the lateral ventricle or the ventral noradrenergic ascending bundle. In vehicle-injected rats, 2 U of IL-1, injected intraventricularly, produced a 5- and 15-fold increase in ACTH and CS, respectively, in serum, 120 min after the injection of IL-1. In contrast, 6-OHDA, injected either intraventricularly or into the ventral noradrenergic ascending bundle, abolished the response to an intracerebral injection of IL-1. In addition, in rats pretreated with the alpha 1-adrenergic antagonist, prazosin, IL-1 failed to activate the adrenocortical axis. In other rats pretreated with the beta-adrenergic antagonist, propranolol, the adrenocortical response did not significantly differ from that of vehicle-pretreated rats. These results suggest that central adrenergic transmission, originating at the ventral noradrenergic ascending bundle and acting through alpha 1-adrenergic receptors, is involved in the adrenocortical response to IL-1.
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            Nitric oxide modulates the release of corticotropin-releasing hormone from the rat hypothalamus in vitro.

            There is now considerable evidence that nitric oxide (NO) is an important neuroregulatory agent, but there has been very little investigation of the possible role of NO in neuroendocrine mechanisms. We have previously shown that acute rat hypothalamic explants can be used to study the regulation of hypothalamic neuropeptide release, and we have now utilised this experimental approach to investigate the putative involvement of NO in the control of the principal corticotropin-releasing hormone, CRH. We studied the direct effects of the NO precursor L-arginine (L-ARG), as well as the NO donors molsidomine and sodium nitroprusside, on both the basal and stimulated release of CRH; the stimuli used were non-specific depolarisation with potassium chloride (KCl) and the specific cytokine, interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta; 100 U/ml). L-ARG was tested in each experimental condition with and without contemporaneous addition of its competitive antagonist NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA). IL-1 beta-induced CRH release was also investigated in the presence of D-arginine (D-ARG), which is not active as a precursor to NO, and ferrous hemoglobin (Hb), a substance which is a potent inactivator of NO. None of the NO precursors (L-ARG, molsidomine, sodium nitroprusside) or antagonists (L-NMMA or Hb) was able to affect basal CRH release. However, L-ARG 10 and 100 microM were found to significantly inhibit the release of CRH induced by 40 mM KCl; CRH fell to 45% of its stimulated level at the higher dose of L-ARG. This effect was attenuated in the presence of L-NMMA at a ten-fold higher dose.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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              NADPH-diaphorase activity in the hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory nuclei of the rat


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                September 1999
                15 September 1999
                : 70
                : 3
                : 153-159
                aDepartment of Neurology, bSchool of Nursing Hadassah University Hospital and cLaboratory of Endocrinology, Bikur Cholim Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
                54471 Neuroendocrinology 1999;70:153–159
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, References: 33, Pages: 7
                Stress and Corticotropin


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