Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) in the cerebellum

Cerebellum. 2008;7(1):84-95. doi: 10.1007/s12311-008-0033-0.


Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) was originally isolated from the hypothalamus. Besides controlling the secretion of TSH from the anterior pituitary, this tripeptide is widely distributed in the central nervous system and regarded as a neurotransmitter or modulator of neuronal activities in extrahypothalamic regions, including the cerebellum. TRH has an important role in the regulation of energy homeostasis, feeding behavior, thermogenesis, and autonomic regulation. TRH controls energy homeostasis mainly through its hypophysiotropic actions to regulate circulating thyroid hormone levels. Recent investigations have revealed that TRH production is regulated directly at the transcriptional level by leptin, one of the adipocytokines that plays a critical role in feeding and energy expenditure. The improvement of ataxic gait is one of the important pharmacological properties of TRH. In the cerebellum, cyclic GMP has been shown to be involved in the effects of TRH. TRH knockout mice show characteristic phenotypes of tertiary hypothyroidism, but no morphological changes in their cerebellum. Further analysis of TRH-deficient mice revealed that the expression of PFTAIRE protein kinase1 (PFTK1), a cdc2-related kinase, in the cerebellum was induced by TRH through the NO-cGMP pathway. The antiataxic effect of TRH and TRH analogs has been investigated in rolling mouse Nagoya (RMN) or 3-acetylpyridine treated rats, which are regarded as a model of human cerebellar degenerative disease. TRH and TRH analogs are promising clinical therapeutic agents for inducing arousal effects, amelioration of mental depression, and improvement of cerebellar ataxia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / genetics
  • Thermogenesis
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / deficiency
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone