Role of glucocorticoids in tuning hindbrain stress integration.
The nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) is a critical integrative site for coordination of autonomic and endocrine stress responses. Stress-excitatory signals from the NTS are communicated by both catecholaminergic [norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (E)] and noncatecholaminergic [e.g., glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)] neurons. Recent studies suggest that outputs of the NE/E and GLP-1 neurons of the NTS are selectively engaged during acute stress. This study was designed to test mechanisms of chronic stress integration in the paraventricular nucleus, focusing on the role of glucocorticoids. Our data indicate that chronic variable stress (CVS) causes downregulation of preproglucagon (GLP-1 precursor) mRNA in the NTS and reduction of GLP-1 innervation to the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. Glucocorticoids were necessary for preproglucagon (PPG) reduction in CVS animals and were sufficient to lower PPG mRNA in otherwise unstressed animals. The data are consistent with a glucocorticoid-mediated withdrawal of GLP-1 in key stress circuits. In contrast, expression of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA, the rate-limiting enzyme in catecholamine synthesis, was increased by stress in a glucocorticoid-independent manner. These suggest differential roles of ascending catecholamine and GLP-1 systems in chronic stress, with withdrawal of GLP-1 involved in stress adaptation and enhanced NE/E capacity responsible for facilitation of responses to novel stress experiences.
Zhang, R; Jankord, R; Flak, JN; Solomon, MB; D'Alessio, DA; Herman, JP
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