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      Pharmacology and Physiology of Ovine Corticosteroid Receptors

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          The aim of these studies was to characterize the ovine corticosteroid receptors (MR, mineralocorticoid receptors and GR, glucocorticoid receptors) in ovine hippocampus and brainstem. Adrenal-intact and adrenalectomized ewes were studied; adrenalectomized ewes were killed 47 ± 9 h after steroid withdrawal, when symptoms of hypotension and/or hyperkalemia became evident. RT-PCR, immunoblotting and pharmacologic studies indicated the presence of both MR and GR in hippocampus and brainstem. Competitive binding studies using <sup>3</sup>H-cortisol in brain tissue showed that the ovine MR binds cortisol, aldosterone and progesterone with equal affinity. Differences in receptor availability in intact and adrenalectomized ewes, along with determination of the binding affinity (K<sub>d</sub>) of MR and GR, suggested that MR occupancy is about 90%, whereas GR occupancy is about 30%, in normal animals. There was a significant increase in protein level of MR in brainstem, and the appearance of a higher molecular weight band for MR in hippocampus following steroid withdrawal, however no significant change in mRNA was detected by semiquantitative RT-PCR for either MR or GR in hippocampus or brainstem following steroid withdrawal. These studies suggest that physiological ligands of MR in the sheep brain include progesterone and cortisol, and that, as in other species, affinity of MR for cortisol is greater than that of GR.

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          Most cited references 11

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          Effects of stress on reproduction in non-rodent mammals: the role of glucocorticoids and sex differences.

          The means by which stress influences reproduction is not clearly understood, but may involve a number of endocrine, paracrine and neural systems. Stress impacts on the reproductive axis at the hypothalamus (to affect GnRH secretion) and the pituitary gland (to affect gonadotrophin secretion), with direct effects on the gonads being of less importance. Different stressors have different effects and there are differences in response to short- and long-term stress. Many short-term stresses fail to affect reproduction and there are reports of stimulatory effects of some 'stressors'. There are species differences in the way that specific stressors affect reproduction. Sex differences in the effects of a particular stressor have been delineated and these may relate to effects of stress at different levels of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis. The significance of stress-induced secretion of cortisol varies with species. In some instances, there appears to be little impact of short-term increases in cortisol concentrations and protracted increases in plasma concentration seem to be required before any deleterious effect on reproduction is apparent. Issues of sex, sex steroid status, type of stressor and duration of stress need to be considered to improve understanding of this issue.
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            The neuronal mineralocorticoid receptor as a mediator of glucocorticoid response.

            The cloning of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) cDNAs provides a basis for understanding the actions of glucocorticoids in the central nervous system. Structural evidence is presented for the identity of the type I corticosteroid binding site as the MR expressed in the brain. This identification is supported by the anatomical distribution of MR mRNA, determined by in situ hybridization histochemistry, which parallels the steroid autoradiographic localization of the type I sites. An in vitro assay for MR and GR function demonstrates that these receptors respond to different levels of glucocorticoid, suggesting that together they confer a larger dynamic range of sensitivity to this hormone. These studies lead to a new hypothesis for glucocorticoid action in the central nervous system.
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              Endocrine and Paracrine Regulation of Birth at Term and Preterm


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                January 2003
                10 March 2003
                : 77
                : 1
                : 2-14
                Departments of aPharmacodynamics and bPhysiology and Functional Genomics, University of Florida, Gainesville,Fla., USA
                68335 Neuroendocrinology 2003;77:2–14
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, References: 49, Pages: 13
                Regulation of Adrenocorticotropin and Brain Actions of Corticoids


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