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

Localization of novel corticotropin-releasing factor receptor ( CRF2) mRNA expression to specific subcortical nuclei in rat brain: comparison with CRF1 receptor mRNA expression.

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is the primary factor involved in controlling the release of ACTH from the anterior pituitary and also acts as a neurotransmitter in a variety of brain systems. The actions of CRF are mediated by G-protein coupled membrane bound receptors and a high affinity CRF receptor, CRF1, has been previously cloned and functionally characterized. We have recently isolated a cDNA encoding a second member of the CRF receptor family, designated CRF2, which displays approximately 70% homology at the nucleotide level to the CRF1 receptor and exhibits a distinctive pharmacological profile. The present study utilized in situ hybridization histochemistry to localize the distribution of CRF2 receptor mRNA in rat brain and pituitary gland and compared this with the distribution of CRF1, receptor expression. While CRF1 receptor expression was very high in neocortical, cerebellar, and sensory relay structures, CRF2 receptor expression was generally confined to subcortical structures. The highest levels of CRF2 receptor mRNA in brain were evident within the lateral septal nucleus, the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus and the choroid plexus. Moderate levels of CRF2 receptor expression were evident in the olfactory bulb, amygdaloid nuclei, the paraventricular and suraoptic nuclei of the hypothalamus, the inferior colliculus and 5-HT-associated raphe nuclei of the midbrain. CRF2-expressing cells were also evident in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, the hippocampal formation and anterior and lateral hypothalmic areas. In addition, CRF2 receptor mRNA was also found in cerebral arterioles throughout the brain. Within the pituitary gland, CRF2 receptor mRNA was detectable only at very low levels in scattered cells while CRF1 receptor mRNA was readily detectable in anterior and intermediate lobes. This heterogeneous distribution of CRF1 and CRF2 receptor mRNA suggests distinctive functional roles for each receptor in CRF-related systems. The CRF1 receptor may be regarded as the primary neuroendocrine pituitary CRF receptor and important in cortical, cerebellar and sensory roles of CRF. The anatomical distribution of CRF2 receptor mRNA indicates a role for this novel receptor in hypothalamic neuroendocrine, autonomic and general behavioral actions of central CRF.[1]


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