ACTH Neurons, Stress and Behavior: A Synthesis

  • John M. Stewart
Part of the Biochemical Endocrinology book series (BIOEND)


Recent discoveries in the field of neuropeptides have made it clear that these molecules play many important roles in regulation of brain function (Krieger, 1983). Although it had been suggested as early as 1953 by Lembeck that substance P (SP) may be a neurotransmitter, progress in the neuropeptide field was slight until the major impetus provided in 1975 by the discovery of enkephalins and endorphins. Since that time the literature has been filled with a flood of often confusing data from which, however, much important new information can be gleaned. Progress in the opioid area has been particularly rapid. It is now well established that ß-endorphin and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) are synthesized together in one protein precursor (Mains et al., 1977), and that the brain contains a set of ACTH-endorphin (ACTH-End) neurons completely distinct from the pituitary (Watson et al., 1978b). Although there has been considerable speculation about the role or roles of this brain ACTH-End system, only recently has it become possible to synthesize from the available data a reasoned hypothesis as to what that role may be.


Corticotropin Release Factor Arcuate Nucleus Luteinizing Hormone Release Hormone Paradoxical Sleep Locus Ceruleus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineDenverUSA

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