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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hypocretin/orexin suppresses corticotroph responsiveness in vitro.

The hypocretin/orexins (Hcrts/ORXs) are peptides produced in neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area that project to neuroendocrine centers in the hypothalamus. Hcrt/ORX receptors are present in the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland. We examined the possibility that the Hcrts/ORXs, which we have demonstrated previously to act in the brain to stimulate sympathetic function, could alter stress hormone secretion by a direct pituitary action. In vitro studies revealed a dose-related inhibitory effect of the Hcrts/ORXs on corticotropin-releasing hormone-stimulated ACTH secretion that appeared to be mediated via the orexin-1 receptor and to be expressed at doses (threshold dose 1 nM orexin A) similar to the affinity constant for the receptor. The effect was not due to abrogation of the cAMP response of the corticotroph to corticotropin-releasing hormone and was not pertussis toxin sensitive, suggesting a non-G(i)-mediated mechanism. Instead, a G(q)-mediated signaling mechanism was indicated by the ability of protein kinase C blockade with calphostin C to reverse the inhibitory action of orexin A. Orexin A and orexin B did not significantly alter basal ACTH secretion in vitro and did not alter basal or releasing factor-stimulated secretion of luteinizing hormone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone or growth hormone from cells harvested from male or random-cycle female donors. Our data suggest a direct, pituitary action of the Hcrts/ORXs to modulate the endocrine response to stress and identify the potential cellular mechanism of a unique biological action of the peptides in the anterior pituitary gland.[1]


  1. Hypocretin/orexin suppresses corticotroph responsiveness in vitro. Samson, W.K., Taylor, M.M. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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