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J Clin Invest. 1994 Apr;93(4):1828-33.

Regulation of corticotropin receptor number and messenger RNA in cultured human adrenocortical cells by corticotropin and angiotensin II.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et Recherche Médicale U 307, Hôpital Debrousse, Lyon, France.


The regulation of ACTH receptor binding sites and mRNA by ACTH and angiotensin II (A-II) was studied using cultured human adrenal fasciculata reticularis cells (HAC). These cells expressed two major ACTH receptor transcripts of 1.8 and 3.4 kb and three minor ones of 4, 7, and 11 kb. ACTH increased the levels of all these transcripts in a time- and dose-dependent manner. At a maximal concentration of 10(-8) M, ACTH enhanced 21- and 4-fold the level of ACTH receptor mRNA and the number of receptors per cell, respectively. Pretreatment of HAC with A-II produced a dose-dependent enhancement of ACTH receptor mRNA that was associated with an increase of both ACTH receptor number and responsiveness to this hormone. The effects of A-II were completely blocked by an AT1 receptor subtype antagonist but not by an AT2 antagonist. The effects of ACTH together with A-II on ACTH receptor mRNA were greater than those induced by each hormone alone. These results show that ACTH receptor number and mRNA are positively regulated by the two main hormones (ACTH and A-II) which, in vivo, regulate adrenocortical functions. In addition, they also show that HAC are a target for A-II. Thus, regulation of ACTH receptors may be one mechanism by which ACTH and A-II regulate adrenocortical functions under both normal and pathological conditions.

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