The Corticotropin-releasing Hormone (CRH) mammalian family members include CRH, urocortin I, Stresscopin (SCP) and Stresscopin-related peptide (SRP), along with the CRH receptors type 1 (CRHR1) and type 2 (CRHR2), and CRH-binding protein (CRH-BP). These family members differ in their tissue distribution and pharmacology. Several studies have provided evidence supporting an important role of this family in the regulation of the neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to stress. Regulation of the relative contribution of CRH and its homologs and the two CRH receptors in brain CRH pathways may be essential in coordinating physiologic responses to stress. The development of disorders related to heightened stress sensitivity and dysregulation of stress-coping mechanisms appears to involve regulatory mechanisms of the CRH family members. Therapeutic agents that target CRH family members may offer a new approach to the treatment of these disorders. The purpose of this review is to summarize the most significant discoveries related to CRH over time.
Keywords: CRH; antalarmin; general adaptation syndrome; stress; stresscopin; urocortin.
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