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

The role of mineralocorticoid receptors in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation in humans.

In rodents, two types of glucocorticoid receptors, the mineralocorticoid ( MR; type I) and the glucocorticoid (type II) receptors, have been demonstrated to play a role in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis regulation. Because MR shows a very high affinity for cortisol, it has been suggested that MR plays an important role in restraint of CRH and ACTH secretion during the nadir of the circadian rhythm. Although a number of studies have established the importance of MR in rodents, the functional role of MR in humans has not been determined. These studies evaluated whether spironolactone, an MR antagonist, had a detectable effect on HPA axis regulation in humans, and whether the effect was greatest during the evening, when plasma cortisol concentrations are in the MR range. Compared to the placebo day, after a single dose of spironolactone at either 0800 or 1600 h, there is a significant increase in plasma cortisol, which is preceded by a rise in ACTH and beta-endorphin. A significant effect of spironolactone on cortisol secretion was demonstrated with no differences between the morning and evening. Because the effect of spironolactone on cortisol was short lived, a second experiment was conducted using two doses of spironolactone, again sampling in the morning and evening. After two doses of spironolactone, plasma cortisol levels showed a significant and sustained spironolactone-induced elevation for the entire sampling period. However, neither plasma beta-endorphin nor ACTH was increased compared to levels on the placebo day. These data suggest that MR appear to play a clear role in HPA axis regulation during the time of the circadian peak as well as the trough. Furthermore, MR blockade may affect the sensitivity of the adrenal to ACTH.[1]

References

  1. The role of mineralocorticoid receptors in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulation in humans. Young, E.A., Lopez, J.F., Murphy-Weinberg, V., Watson, S.J., Akil, H. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (1998) [Pubmed]
 
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