Fasting differentially regulates plasma corticosterone-binding globulin, glucocorticoid receptor, and cell cycle in the gastric mucosa of pups and adult rats

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Jan;298(1):G117-25. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00245.2009. Epub 2009 Oct 15.


The nutritional status influences gastric growth, and interestingly, whereas cell proliferation is stimulated by fasting in suckling rats, it is inhibited in adult animals. Corticosterone takes part in the mechanisms that govern development, and its effects are regulated in particular by corticosterone-binding globulin (CBG) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR). To investigate whether corticosterone activity responds to fasting and how possible changes might control gastric epithelial cell cycle, we evaluated different parameters during the progression of fasting in 18- and 40-day-old rats. Food restriction induced higher corticosterone plasma concentration at both ages, but only in pups did CBG binding increase after short- and long-term treatments. Fasting also increased gastric GR at transcriptional and protein levels, but the effect was more pronounced in 40-day-old animals. Moreover, in pups, GR was observed in the cytoplasm, whereas, in adults, it accumulated in the nucleus after the onset of fasting. Heat shock protein (HSP) 70 and HSP 90 were differentially regulated and might contribute to the stability of GR and to the high cytoplasmic levels in pups and elevated shuttling in adult rats. As for gastric epithelial cell cycle, whereas cyclin D1 and p21 increased during fasting in pups, in adults, cyclin E slowly decreased, concomitant with higher p27. In summary, we demonstrated that corticosterone function is differentially regulated by fasting in 18- and 40-day-old rats, and such variation might attenuate any possible suppressive effects during postnatal development. We suggest that this mechanism could ultimately increase cell proliferation and allow regular gastric growth during adverse nutritional conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Suckling
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Gastric Mucosa / cytology*
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / genetics
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism*
  • Transcortin / metabolism*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Serpina6 protein, rat
  • Transcortin
  • Corticosterone