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Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):849-56. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress in mice lacking functional vasopressin V1b receptors.

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Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology (LINE), Dorothy Hodgkin Building, University of Bristol, Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NY, United Kingdom.


The role of arginine vasopressin (Avp) as an ACTH secretagogue is mediated by the Avp 1b receptor (Avpr1b) found on anterior pituitary corticotropes. Avp also potentiates the actions of CRH (Crh) and appears to be an important mediator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to chronic stress. To investigate the role of Avp in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress, we measured plasma ACTH and corticosterone (CORT) levels in Avpr1b knockout (KO) mice and wild-type controls in response to two acute (restraint and insulin administration) and one form of chronic (daily restraint for 14 d) stress. No significant difference was found in the basal plasma levels of ACTH and CORT between the two genotypes. Acute restraint (30 min) increased plasma ACTH and CORT to a similar level in both the Avpr1b mutant and wild-type mice. In contrast, plasma ACTH and CORT levels induced by hypoglycemia were significantly decreased in the Avpr1b KO mice when compared with wild-type littermates. There was no difference in the ACTH response to acute and chronic restraint in wild-type mice. In the Avpr1b KO group subjected to 14 sessions of daily restraint, plasma ACTH was decreased when compared with wild-type mice. On the other hand, the CORT elevations induced by restraint did not adapt in the Avpr1b KO or wild-type mice. The data suggest that the Avpr1b is required for the normal pituitary and adrenal response to some acute stressful stimuli and is necessary only for a normal ACTH response during chronic stress.

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