Journal of Biomedical Science

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 50–56 | Cite as

Differential effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone on central dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons

  • Jenn-Tser Pan
  • Keith J. Lookingland
  • Kenneth E. Moore
Original Paper


Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) has been shown to be a central mediator for most, if not all, stress-induced responses. Since stressful stimuli may decrease hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular and tuberohypophysial dopaminergic neuronal activities, we aimed to determine whether CRH is involved. Using central administration of various doses of ovine CRH (oCRH; 1, 3 and 10 µg/rat) into the lateral cerebroventricle of either male or female rats, the neurochemical changes in various parts of the central nervous system, including the hypothalamus, were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography at various times after the injection (30, 60, 120 and 240 min). The concentrations of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylethyleneglycol (MHPG), two major metabolites of dopamine and norepinephrine, respectively, in discrete brain regions were used as indices for catecholaminergic neuron activity. Plasma corticosterone levels increased significantly after all doses of oCRH and at all time points studied. oCRH also exerted significant stimulatory effects on noradrenergic neuron terminals in the frontal cortex, and on dopaminergic neuron terminals in the nucleus accumbens, hypothalamic paraventricular and periventricular nuclei, and intermediate pituitary lobe. Dopaminergic neuron terminals in the median eminence and the neural lobe of the pituitary, however, were not affected. There was no major difference in the responses between male and female rats. We conclude that CRH has a differential effect on central catecholaminergic neurons.

Key Words

Stress Tuberoinfundibular dopamine neuron Frontal cortex Nucleus accumbens Pituitary, posterior and intermediate Median eminence Paraventricular nucleus Corticotropin-releasing hormone 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenn-Tser Pan
    • 2
  • Keith J. Lookingland
    • 1
  • Kenneth E. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Institute of PhysiologyNational Yang-Ming Medical CollegeTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China

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