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

Distribution of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor mRNA expression in the rat brain and pituitary.

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is a major hypophysiotropic peptide regulating pituitary-adrenal response to stress, and it is also widely expressed in the central nervous system. The recent cloning of cDNAs encoding the human and rat CRF receptors has enabled us to map the distribution of cells expressing CRF receptor mRNA in rat brain and pituitary by in situ hybridization. Receptor expression in the forebrain is dominated by widespread signal throughout all areas of the neo-, olfactory, and hippocampal cortices. Other prominent sites of CRF receptor mRNA expression include subcortical limbic structures in the septal region and amygdala. In the diencephalon, low levels of expression are seen in a few discrete ventral thalamic and medial hypothalamic nuclei. CRF receptor expression in hypothalamic neurosecretory structures, including the paraventricular nucleus and median eminence, is generally low. In the brainstem, certain relay nuclei associated with the somatic (including trigeminal), auditory, vestibular, and visceral sensory systems, constituted prominent sites of CRF receptor mRNA expression. In addition, high levels of this transcript are present in the cerebellar cortex and deep nuclei, along with many precerebellar nuclei. In the pituitary, moderate levels of CRF receptor mRNA expression were detected throughout the intermediate lobe and in a subset of cells in the anterior lobe identified as corticotropes by concurrent immunolabeling. Overall, the central distribution of CRF receptor mRNA expression is similar to, though more expansive than, that of regions reported to bind CRF, and it shows limited overlap with loci expressing CRF-binding protein. Interestingly, CRF receptor mRNA is low or undetectable in several cell groups implicated as central sites of CRF action.[1]


  1. Distribution of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor mRNA expression in the rat brain and pituitary. Potter, E., Sutton, S., Donaldson, C., Chen, R., Perrin, M., Lewis, K., Sawchenko, P.E., Vale, W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1994) [Pubmed]
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