Differential regulation of corticotropin-releasing hormone and vasopressin gene transcription in the hypothalamus by norepinephrine

Keiichi Itoi, Dana L. Helmreich, Manuel O. Lopez-Figueroa, Stanley J. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


All stress-related inputs are conveyed to the hypothalamus via several brain areas and integrated in the parvocellular division of the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) where corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is synthesized. Arginine vasopressin (AVP) is present in both magnocellular and parvocellular divisions of the PVN, and the latter population of AVP is colocalized with CRH. CRH and AVP are co-secreted in the face of certain stressful stimuli, and synthesis of both peptides is suppressed by glucocorticoid. CRH and AVP stimulate corticotropin (ACTH) secretion synergistically, but the physiological relevance of the dual corticotroph regulation is not understood. Norepinephrine (NE) is a well known neurotransmitter that regulates CRH neurons in the PVN. We explored the mode of action of NE on CRH and AVP gene transcription in the PVN to examine the effect of the neurotransmitter on multiple genes that are responsible for a common physiological function. After NE injection into the PVN of conscious rats, CRH heteronuclear (hn) RNA increased rapidly and markedly in the parvocellular division of the PVN. AVP hnRNA did not change significantly in either the parvocellular or magnocellular division of the PVN after NE injection. The present results show that the transcription of CRH and AVP genes is differentially regulated by NE, indicating the complexity of neurotransmitter regulation of multiple releasing hormone genes in a discrete hypothalamic neuronal population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5464-5472
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Catecholamines
  • Corticotropin
  • In situ hybridization
  • Magnocellular division
  • Messenger RNA
  • Paraventricular nucleus
  • Parvocellular division
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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