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J Endocrinol. 1998 Jan;156(1):205-12.

Increased corticosteroid binding capacity of plasma albumin but not of corticosteroid-binding globulin caused by ACTH-induced changes in free fatty acid concentrations in snowshoe hares and rabbits.

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Division of Life Sciences, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.


Free fatty acids (FFAs) are rapidly mobilized by ACTH and have been shown to be potent endogenous modulators of steroid-protein interactions. We increased FFA in lagomorphs by ACTH and then separated the transient increase in glucocorticoid binding capacity of plasma into that accounted for by changes in binding to albumin and to corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG). Sequential injections of dexamethasone and ACTH into both snowshoe hares and laboratory rabbits resulted in the rapid mobilization of FFA only after the ACTH injection. The maximum corticosteroid binding capacity increase paralleled that of the FFA increase in both species. In rabbits, CBG levels remained constant over the duration of the experiment. Corticosterone binding by rabbit albumin increased in a dose-dependent fashion in response to increases in FFA (oleic and linoleic acid) concentrations. Finally, by stimulating FFA release in snowshoe hares with ACTH and separating the increase in corticosteroid binding capacity through selective denaturing of CBG by heat, we determined that the increase in plasma binding capacity was a response to changes in binding by albumin, not CBG. Thus FFA released in response to stressors in lagomorphs may effect short-term increases in steroid binding.

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