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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Nov;88(11):5427-32.

Corticotropin-releasing hormone causes vasodilation in human skin via mast cell-dependent pathways.

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Mothers and Babies Research Centre, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle NSW, Australia.


CRH plays a central role as a mediator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and stress response and is a potent vasodilator. Previously, we have shown that CRH causes a gender-specific vasodilation in human skin, although the mechanism by which CRH operates is unclear. CRH causes mast cell degranulation in rat skin. As such, histamine and other mast cell-derived factors may be indirectly responsible for the vasodilatory effects of CRH, although CRH is also known to act directly on the vasculature. CRH-induced vasodilation in human skin was examined using laser Doppler flowmetry and iontophoresis in adult females. CRH (1 nM) was administered iontophoretically to the forearm, and blood flow was measured simultaneously in the same area by laser Doppler. CRH-induced dilation of the skin microvasculature was significantly reduced in the presence of the mast cell degranulation inhibitor, sodium cromoglycate, the histamine H(1)-antagonist, promethazine, or the H(2)-antagonist, ranitidine. CRH-induced dilation was also significantly reduced in the presence of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, or the cyclooxygenase inhibitor, piroxicam. These findings provide novel evidence that CRH-induced vasodilation in human skin occurs via mast cell degranulation and is principally mediated by histamine and, to a lesser extent, by prostacyclin and nitric oxide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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