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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Sep;293(3):E705-12. Epub 2007 Jun 19.

Type 1 corticotropin-releasing factor receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus promote hypoglycemia-induced hormonal counterregulation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Type 2 corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptors (CRFR2) within the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a key glucose-sensing region, play a major role in regulating the hormonal counterregulatory responses (CRRs) to acute hypoglycemia. The VMH expresses both subtypes of CRF receptors, CRFR1 and CRFR2. The objective of this study was to examine the role of the CRFR1 receptor in the VMH in the regulation of the CRR to acute hypoglycemia. To compare the hormonal CRR to hypoglycemia, awake and unrestrained Sprague-Dawley rats were bilaterally microinjected to the VMH with either 1) aECF, 2) CRF (1 pmol/side), 3) CRFR1 antagonist Antalarmin (500 pmol/side), or 4) CRF + Antalarmin prior to undergoing a hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemic (2.8 mM) clamp. A second series of studies also incorporated an infusion of [(3)H]glucose to allow the calculation of glucose dynamics. In addition the effect of CRFR1 antagonism in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) was studied. Activation of VMH CRFR1 increased, whereas inhibition of CRFR1 suppressed hypoglycemia-induced CRRs. Inhibition of VMH CRFR1 also increased peripheral glucose utilization and reduced endogenous glucose production during hypoglycemia, whereas VMH CRF reduced peripheral glucose utilization. In contrast CRFR1 inhibition in the PVN blunted corticosterone but not epinephrine or glucagon CRR to hypoglycemia. In contrast to CRFR2 activation, CRFR1 activation within the VMH amplifies CRRs to acute hypoglycemia. The balance between these two opposing CRFRs in this key glucose-sensing region may play an important role in determining the magnitude of CRRs to acute hypoglycemia.

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