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J Neuroendocrinol. 2001 Aug;13(8):670-7.

Changes in rat serum corticosterone after treatment with metabotropic glutamate receptor agonists or antagonists.

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  • 1Neuroscience Research, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Company, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA.


From previous work, it appears that glutamate can activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis by an interaction at either ionotopic or metabotropic (G-protein coupled) receptors. For example, (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylate (ACPD), a metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptor agonist, has been shown to increase the levels of serum corticosterone in rats. The present study was undertaken to further characterize which of the mGlu receptors are substantially involved in control of the HPA axis. The group I mGlu receptor agonists, 3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), 1S,3R-ACPD, and 2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine (CHPG) but not the inactive isomer 1R,3S-ACPD were found to dose-dependently increase serum corticosterone 1 h after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection in male rats. The relative potency, DHPG (EC50 = 520 nmol) > 1S,3R-ACPD (1.4 micromol) = CHPG (2.7 micromol) >> 1R,3S-ACPD (>> 3 micromol) is consistent with activation of group I (mGlu1/5) receptors. The effects of DHPG were long lasting with substantial elevations in corticosterone remaining for at least 3 h. In a similar manner, the group III mGlu receptor agonists, L-AP4 (4-phosphono-2-aminobutyric acid) and L-SOP (serine-O-phosphate), were found to increase serum corticosterone levels at 1 h. In contrast, the mGlu group II selective agonists LY354740 (10 mg/kg, i.p.) and subtype-selective doses of the group II antagonist LY341495 (1 mg/kg, i.p.) did not significantly elevate serum corticosterone. Given the group I agonists results, it was surprising to find that group I selective and mGlu1 selective antagonists given alone also increased serum corticosterone. As with the agonists, the rise in serum corticosterone with LY393675 (an mGlu1/5 antagonist, EC50 = 20 nmol, i.c.v.) and LY367385 (an mGlu1 antagonist, 325 nmol, i.c.v.) were dose-dependent and consistent with their relative affinity for the group I mGlu receptors. The selective mGlu5 antagonist MPEP [2-methyl-6-(phenylethylnyl)pyridine] increased serum corticosterone but only at high doses (> 30 mg/kg, i.p.). A model involving the high glutamatergic tone on GABAergic interneurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus is discussed as a possible explanation for these results.

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