Regulation of the messenger ribonucleic acid for corticotropin-releasing factor in the paraventricular nucleus and other brain sites of the rat

Endocrinology. 1988 Oct;123(4):2117-23. doi: 10.1210/endo-123-4-2117.


CRF, from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), is the major hypothalamic releasing factor that controls pituitary ACTH. Recently, the mRNA for CRF and the CRF peptide have been detected in other brain sites. However, there is little information on the function and regulation of CRF in brain sites outside the paraventricular nucleus. We investigated the content of CRF mRNA in the PVN, the central nucleus of the amygdala (CN), the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BN), and the supraoptic nucleus (SON). Northern gel analysis showed that the mRNA for CRF is present in the BN, CN, and SON as well as the PVN, and that all are the same size. In response to adrenalectomy, the level of hybridizable mRNA increased 2.75-fold over 7 days in the PVN; there was no change in the CN, BN, or SON. High dose dexamethasone decreased, but did not eliminate, the PVN CRF mRNA; it was without effect in the other sites. Glucocorticoid replacement with constant low blood levels of corticosterone (5.6 +/- 0.3 micrograms/100 ml) suppressed plasma ACTH and decreased thymus weight while reducing, but not eliminating, PVN CRF mRNA. We conclude that the same sized mRNA for CRF is synthesized in the PVN, BN, CN, and SON, but only the PVN mRNA responds to alterations of peripheral glucocorticoid status. This may imply that only CRF from the PVN is involved in control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cholesterol / pharmacology
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / drug effects
  • Genes* / drug effects
  • Male
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Organ Specificity
  • Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Reference Values
  • Transcription, Genetic* / drug effects


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Dexamethasone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Cholesterol
  • Corticosterone