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Regul Pept. 2000 Dec 22;96(1-2):23-9.

Vasopressinergic regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: implications for stress adaptation.

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Section on Endocrine Physiology, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, Bldg. 10, Rm. 10N262, 10 Center Drive MSC 1862, Bethesda, MD 20892-1862, USA.


In addition to its role on water conservation, vasopressin (VP) regulates pituitary ACTH secretion by potentiating the stimulatory effects of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH). The pituitary actions of VP are mediated by plasma membrane receptors of the V1b subtype, coupled to calcium-phospholipid signaling systems. VP is critical for adaptation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to stress as indicated by preferential expression of VP over CRH in parvocellular neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, and the upregulation of pituitary VP receptors during stress paradigms associated with corticotroph hyperresponsiveness. V1b receptor mRNA levels and coupling of the receptor to phospolipase C are stimulated by glucocorticoids, effects which may contribute to the refractoriness of VP-stimulated ACTH secretion to glucocorticoid feedback. The data suggest that vasopressinergic regulation of the HPA axis is critical for sustaining corticotroph responsiveness in the presence of high circulating glucocorticoid levels during chronic stress.

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