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Neuroscience. 2001;102(2):445-50.

Glucocorticoid hypersecretion following intracerebroventricular injection of ethylcholine mustard aziridinium ion in rats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 807-8555, Kitakyushu, Japan.


To investigate whether cholinergic hypofunctions in the brain influence hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity, we examined the effects of cholinergic neurotoxin ethylcholine mustard aziridinium ion on basal and stress-induced levels of corticosterone in rats. Blood sampling from rats following intracerebroventricular injection of saline (5 microl, as a control) or this neurotoxin (5 nmol/5 microl) was performed over a day in one series, and was taken before, during and after an immobilization stress exposure in another series. Plasma levels of corticosterone and adrenocorticotropin were determined by the radioimmunoassay. The basal levels of plasma corticosterone and adrenocorticotropin over a day were significantly higher in the neurotoxin-treated rats, compared with the control rats (corticosterone, P<0.001; adrenocorticotropin, P<0.05). Further, relative adrenal gland weight of the neurotoxin-treated rats was significantly greater than that of the control rats (P<0.05). However, responses in plasma corticosterone level caused by the immobilization stress in the neurotoxin-treated rats were not different from those in the control rats. The present study demonstrated that damage to the cholinergic neurons in the brain increased hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity over a day, probably due to freedom from inhibitory influences of the hippocampal cholinergic system, but that this damage did not influence stress-induced changes in plasma glucocorticoid level.

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