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Regul Pept. 1991 Apr 25;33(2):93-104.

Corticotropin-releasing factor: an inhibitor of vascular leakage in rat skeletal muscle and brain cortex after injury.

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School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.


Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and other peptides of the corticoliberin superfamily inhibit development of edema in skin and mucosa after noxious stimuli. Here, the breadth of CRFs protective activity on small blood vessels was examined after injury to skeletal muscle or to brain cortex. Male rats (243 +/- 15 g) were anesthetized with sodium pentobarbital 60 mg/kg i.p. and Monastral blue 60 mg/kg i.v. was injected 3 min before mechanical injury to muscle produced by a 4 cm midline surgical incision in the rectus abdominis or before freeze injury to the cortex produced by applying a cold probe (-50 degrees C) to the skull for 4 min. Vascular leakage, measured as area of dye staining multiplied by its light intensity, was quantified with an image-analysis system. CRF, having the human/rat sequence, 30 micrograms/kg s.c., injected once (30 min) or twice (30 min and 10 min) before injury to muscle or to brain, inhibited the lesion size by 58% and 55%, respectively (tissues taken at 0.5 and 1 h). Microscopy showed that CRF inhibited Monastral blue labeling of small blood vessels. The ED50 (95% C.L.) of CRF for reducing vascular leakage in muscle after celiotomy was 24 (9 to 64) micrograms/kg s.c. h/rCRF injected 30 micrograms/kg s.c. 2 h before celiotomy inhibited vascular leakage after celiotomy in adrenalectomized rats and this effect was not obtained with dexamethasone phosphate, 1 mg/kg s.c. alpha-Helical CRF (9-41), a CRF receptor antagonist, attenuated the actions of CRF on celiotomy. Laser-Doppler flowmeter measurements of skeletal muscle showed that the anti-inflammatory effects of CRF occurred when there were no significant concurrent changes in blood flow. From these results, we surmise that CRF has a versatile protective effect on small blood vessels when it inhibits leakage within different vascular beds.

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