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Stress. 2015;18(4):400-7. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2015.1046832. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

Ontogeny of hypothalamic glucocorticoid receptor-mediated inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in mice.

Author information

1
a Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA .
2
b Center for Preterm Birth Prevention, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center , Cincinnati , OH , USA , and.
3
c Department of Pediatrics , University of Cincinnati College of Medicine , Cincinnati , OH , USA.

Abstract

Glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) are important regulators of negative feedback regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Previous evaluation of endogenous PVN GR function in adult mice demonstrated that mice with loss of GR exon 3 in the PVN (Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ) have a hyperactive HPA axis, growth impairment and metabolic disruptions. Here, we hypothesized that lack of negative feedback inhibition of the HPA axis through PVN GR, as demonstrated through loss of PVN GR early in life, will have developmental-stage-specific consequences. Immunofluorescence revealed that Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice display PVN GR loss as early as post-natal day 2 compared to control mice. Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice compared to controls also displayed increased corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) mRNA in the PVN at post-natal day 10, as shown by in situ hybridization. Corticosterone radioimmunoassay revealed that the disruptions in PVN GR and CRH expression led to elevated basal corticosterone secretion in male Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice by early adolescence and increased stress-induced (restraint) corticosterone secretion in late adolescence into adulthood. In comparison, female Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice did not display corticosterone disruption until adulthood. Circadian rhythmicity of corticosterone secretion was normal for male and female mice at all age groups regardless of genotype with one exception. In late adolescence, female Sim1Cre-GRe3Δ mice had disrupted circadian corticosterone secretion due to significantly elevated circulating levels at nadir. We conclude that PVN GR function matures at an earlier developmental time point in male than in female mice and thus leads to later differential stress responsiveness between sexes.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescent; corticosterone; corticotropin-releasing hormone; glucocorticoids; paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus; sex-specific

PMID:
26068518
PMCID:
PMC5704948
DOI:
10.3109/10253890.2015.1046832
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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