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Am J Pathol. 2007 Mar;170(3):1121-33.

A role for type 1alpha corticotropin-releasing hormone receptors in mediating local changes in chronically inflamed tissue.

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  • 1College of Life Sciences, Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland..


Peripheral corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is an important regulator of localized inflammatory responses. The aim of this study is to define the pathological signaling pathways in which peripheral CRH receptor-mediated responses reside. We report that PECAM-1-expressing synovial membrane endothelial cells are the principal source of CRH receptor subtype 1alpha in chronically inflamed synovial tissue (ST). Analysis of ST from an early arthritis patient cohort (n = 9) established that expression of CRH-R1alpha significantly (P < 0.03) colocalized with PECAM-1 and E-selectin expression in vivo. Freshly excised ST explants released a mediator(s) that acts to promote CRH-R1alpha mRNA to levels present in inflamed human synovium (n = 8). We tested the ability of conditioned medium and individual inflammatory mediators to modulate CRH-R1alpha expression. Histamine selectively induced the expression of CRH-R1alpha, and these effects were mediated through the histamine receptor type 1. Ectopic expression of CRH-R1alpha in normal human endothelial and synoviocyte cells resulted in the induction of the orphan receptor NR4A2 through the reconstitution of cAMP/protein kinase A/cAMP response element-binding protein signaling and identified a role for CRH in modulating nuclear factor kappaB transcriptional activity. CRH enhanced the expression of nitric-oxide synthase (NOS III) to promote NO production from CRH-R1alpha-expressing cells. These data establish a role for CRH receptor-mediated responses in regulating vascular changes associated with chronic synovitis.

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