Paradoxical responses of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and CRF-41 peptide and adenohypophysial proopiomelanocortin mRNA during chronic inflammatory stress

Endocrinology. 1992 Mar;130(3):1394-400. doi: 10.1210/endo.130.3.1537299.


We have determined the time course of the neuroendocrine response of Piebald-Viral-Glaxo (PVG) rats during the development of mycobacterially induced adjuvant arthritis. Anterior pituitary POMC mRNA increased at the time of onset of mycobacterially induced arthritis, but, paradoxically, coincident with the first signs of arthritis there was a consistent fall in CRF mRNA in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Coincident with this fall in CRF message, there was a corresponding decrease in CRF-41 peptide release into the hypophysial portal blood (HPB). In contrast, however, vasopressin release into the HPB was increased. There was an increase in adrenal weight associated with the development of arthritis, reflecting chronic activation of the HPA axis, which was reflected by increased circulating corticosterone concentrations. The synthetic adjuvant CP20961, which has different antigenic determinants, also caused an increase in POMC mRNA in the anterior pituitary, a decrease in CRF mRNA in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, and a decrease in CRF-41 peptide release into the HPB in PVG rats 28 days after the induction of the arthritis. The arginine vasopressin level was not significantly different from the control value. In Sprague-Dawley rats, mycobacterial adjuvant resulted in a similar increase in POMC mRNA in the anterior pituitary 28 days after injection of the adjuvant. In this strain of rat there was no corresponding change in CRF mRNA. While there are some strain differences in the degree of change in CRF mRNA, both strains showed a common paradox of a marked increase in adenohypophyseal POMC mRNA not associated with increased CRF mRNA or peptide release. In the PVG strain of rat, CRF actually appears to be inhibited. The mechanisms involved in this disparity are unclear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / blood
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Infectious / blood*
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / analysis
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / blood
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics*
  • Diamines / administration & dosage
  • Hypothalamus / chemistry*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Interferon Inducers / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium Infections*
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / chemistry
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / metabolism
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / analysis
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / blood
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Diamines
  • Interferon Inducers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • avridine