W T Gallucci

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Maryland, United States

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Publications (32)329.96 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Two studies examined sex differences in responsiveness of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortical axis, a major component of the stress response. The first measured pituitary-adrenal responses to ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone (oCRH) in 24 health men and 19 healthy women. Plasma adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) response to oCRH were significantly greater among women than among men. In contrast, cortisol concentrations were similar in both groups, though elevations were more prolonged in women. Differences in corticotropin-releasing activity between men and women may help account for these findings; such differences in central components of the stress response might play a role in the known epidemiological differences in diseases of stress system dysregulation between men and women.
    Health Psychology 10/1993; 12(5):420-5. · 3.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in insulin-dependent diabetic outpatients (N = 22) and age-, sex-, and weight-matched normal controls (N = 22). The evaluation included measurements of 9:00 AM fasting plasma cortisol and cortisol-binding globulin (CBG) levels, 24-hour urinary free cortisol (UFC) excretion, and plasma corticotropin and cortisol responses to intravenously administered ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone ([CRH] 1 microgram/kg given as a bolus at 8:00 PM). Diabetic patients had significantly elevated 9:00 AM plasma cortisol levels (mean +/- SE, 300.7 +/- 99.3 v 237.3 +/- 99.3 nmol/L, P < .04), higher 24-hour UFC excretion (313.2 +/- 112.6 v 244.2 +/- 69.3 nmol/24 h, P < .02), and greater cortisol responses to CRH infusion (time-integrated values: 49,408.2 +/- 11,289.8 v 40,217.9 +/- 7,228.6 nmol/L.120 min, P < .004; peak cortisol values: 529.7 +/- 107.6 v 438.7 +/- 77.3 nmol/L, P < .002) than controls. UFC excretion values were positively correlated with both 5-year averaged hemoglobin A1c level (P = .03) and total number of insulin units administered per day (P = .03). These results suggest that insulin-dependent diabetic outpatients have mild chronic hypercortisolism, which might influence the control of the disease and play a role in the development of its chronic complications.
    Metabolism 06/1993; 42(6):696-700. · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone (oCRH) stimulation tests were performed in 8 female patients with active rheumatoid arthritis treated chronically with daily low dose prednisone and 16 age matched female controls. Patients were tested on the day of treatment, 12 h after their last prednisone dose, and after withholding prednisone for 36 h. Basal levels of plasma ACTH and to a lesser extent plasma cortisol levels were elevated before each test, and significant increases in ACTH and cortisol were induced with oCRH. The dose response relationship between total ACTH and total cortisol was shifted to the right, suggesting that the patient group had mildly deficient adrenocortical responsiveness compensated for by elevated basal evening ACTH concentrations. It is not known whether the neuroendocrine abnormalities demonstrated are due to an intrinsic preexisting abnormality, active disease, drug therapy or all these factors.
    The Journal of Rheumatology 12/1992; 19(11):1692-6. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carbamazepine (CBZ) is a widely used therapeutic agent in seizure, pain, and mood disorders. Although CBZ has been shown to inhibit hypothalamic CRH secretion in vitro, limited data suggest that systemic CBZ induces pituitary-adrenal activation. Few data are available to reconcile these effects or clarify their mechanism(s), particularly in healthy human subjects. We report here a study of basal ACTH and cortisol secretion and their responses to ovine CRH administration in nine healthy volunteers, studied both during repeated (2-3 weeks) administration of CBZ and while medication free. CBZ significantly increased mean 24-h urinary free cortisol (mean +/- SE, 197 +/- 17 vs. 137 +/- 24 nmol/day; P less than 0.02) and evening basal total plasma cortisol (113 +/- 17 vs. 83 +/- 14 nmol/L; P less than 0.05) as well as cortisol-binding globulin-binding capacity (497 +/- 36 vs. 433 +/- 28 nmol/L; P less than 0.01). Despite the CBZ-induced hypercortisolism, plasma ACTH responses to CRH during CBZ treatment remained robust, rather than being suppressed by basal hypercortisolism. In fact, during CBZ treatment, we noted a positive correlation between the increase in basal plasma cortisol and the increase in the plasma ACTH response to CRH (r = 0.65; P less than 0.05). We also observed a reduction in cortisol-binding globulin-binding capacity after CRH administration (315 +/- 25 vs. 433 +/- 28 nmol/L; P less than 0.001), which was accentuated by CBZ treatment (342 +/- 19 vs. 497 +/- 36 nmol/L; P less than 0.001; magnitude of fall, -155 +/- 22 nmol/L on CBZ vs. -118 +/- 11 nmol/L off CBZ; P less than 0.05). We conclude that CBZ increases plasma cortisol secretion in healthy volunteers independent of its effect on plasma cortisol-binding capacity. This pituitary-adrenal activation seems to reflect a pituitary, rather than a hypothalamic, effect of CBZ. Hence, despite CBZ-induced hypercortisolism, the ACTH response to CRH remained robust in direct proportion to the CBZ-induced rise in basal plasma cortisol. Thus, we propose that the increased cortisol secretion observed during CBZ treatment reflects a relative inefficacy of glucocorticoid negative feedback at the pituitary. This pituitary-driven increase in cortisol secretion combined with the expected reduction in centrally directed CRH secretion could contribute to the anticonvulsant properties of CBZ.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 03/1992; 74(2):406-12. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Basal and ACTH-stimulated plasma levels of cortisol, delta 4-androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured in a group of 11 female patients with postadolescent acne resistant to or relapsing after conventional therapy and in a group of 10 normal women without acne or hirsutism. Each patient received, in a blinded random fashion, a series of 5 1-h ACTH tests. For each test a different dose of ACTH-(1-24) was administered, ranging from 0-1 microgram/kg, given as an iv bolus. Blood samples were collected 0, 10, 30, and 60 min after ACTH bolus injection. Patients with acne had slightly higher concentrations of basal cortisol, delta 4-androstenedione, and DHEA than normal controls (P less than 0.05). After ACTH-(1-24) stimulation, the same patients had greater peak and time-integrated DHEA concentrations (P less than 0.03). The ED50 values of the cortisol dose-response curves were similar in patients and normal women (P less than 0.05), suggesting that there are no differences in the sensitivity of the adrenal cortex to ACTH between the acne patients and the controls studied. The ratio of DHEA to cortisol response was significantly elevated in women with acne compared to that in control women, suggesting some preponderance of the delta 5 pathway of steroidogenesis in acne (P less than 0.05). These findings of basal and ACTH-stimulated hypersecretion of delta 5-androgens in patients with postaldolescent acne are consistent with an increased volume of androgen-secreting tissue, rather than hypersensitivity of the adrenal zona reticularis to ACTH.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 09/1991; 73(2):380-4. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report here a study of the effects of alprazolam on in vivo pituitary-adrenal function in jacketed nonrestrained nonhuman primates and on in vitro CRH release from rat hypothalami and ACTH release from rat dispersed anterior pituicytes. We undertook this study because alprazolam is the only benzodiazepine effective in treating both major depressive and anxiety disorders, and recent data suggest that the hypercortisolism of major depression reflects hypersecretion of CRH. Moreover, the intracerebroventricular administration of CRH can reproduce many of the components of the symptom complex of major depression, including not only hypercortisolism, but also hypothalamic hypogonadism, decreased libido, anorexia, and intense anxiety. As a comparison, we also assessed the effects of diazepam on in vitro CRH release, because in contrast to alprazolam, diazepam is effective in anxiety states but not in depression. Alprazolam (0.01-0.3 mg/kg, iv) produced a dose-dependent inhibition of both plasma ACTH and cortisol secretion in non-restrained adult male rhesus monkeys. Our in vitro studies showed that alprazolam significantly inhibited serotonin (5HT)-induced CRH release in a dose-dependent fashion (10(-10)-10(-5) M). Diazepam also inhibited 5HT-induced CRH release, but was 40 times less potent than alprazolam. Alprazolam was ineffective in blocking basal or CRH-induced ACTH release from rat dispersed anterior pituicytes, suggesting that its in vivo effects are through inhibition of CRH secretion. As expected, the inactive benzodiazepine ligand Ro 15-1788 inhibited the effects of alprazolam on 5HT-induced CRH release, but this occurred only at doses below 10(-7) M. Interestingly, when incubated alone in higher doses with our rat hypothalamic organ culture, Ro 15-1788, like alprazolam, produced a dose-dependent inhibition of 5HT-induced CRH release (10(-7)-10(-5) M), suggesting an agonistic action of Ro 15-1788 at the benzodiazepine receptor at higher concentrations. We conclude that alprazolam is capable of suppressing the primate pituitary-adrenal axis, and that this suppression most likely reflects suppression of the CRH neuron rather than of the pituitary corticotroph cell. We speculate that the enhanced capacity of alprazolam to suppress the CRH neuron relative to other benzodiazepines may contribute to its unique efficacy among this class of drugs in the treatment of major depression. The capacity of Ro 15-1788 to reverse alprazolam-induced suppression of the CRH neuron indicates that the effects of alprazolam are mediated at least in part via its interaction with the benzodiazepine component of the gamma-aminobutyric acidA macromolecular complex.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 06/1990; 70(5):1462-71. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that procaine and lidocaine stimulate corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion by explanted rat hypothalami. This effect was of interest in light of the fact that both lidocaine and CRH administration to experimental animals can produce kindled seizures which cross-sensitize with electrically kindled seizures, and of recent data suggesting that limbic hyperexcitability, perhaps mediated through CRH, may be involved in the pathophysiology of affective illness. Because a prominent effect of the local anesthetics is to decrease neuronal firing by blocking sodium conductance, we were surprised by the capacity of these agents to cause CRH secretion and pituitary-adrenal activation and wished to further elucidate the possible mechanism(s) of these effects. To accomplish this, we first explored the effect of the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX) on basal and stimulated immunoreactive CRH (iCRH) secretion by explanted rat hypothalami. In contrast to procaine and lidocaine, TTX inhibited rather than stimulated iCRH secretion. Moreover, TTX inhibited lidocaine-induced iCRH secretion but had no influence on the response of the CRH neuron to procaine. To explore other potential mechanisms of action, we examined the effect of the calcium channels blocker verapamil and of pharmacologic antagonists to serotonergic, alpha-adrenergic and cholinergic receptors. The latter was particularly of interest because of structural similarities between procaine or lidocaine and acetylcholine (ACh) and because it has been shown that these anesthetic agents interact with the ACh receptor. Verapamil and blockade of serotonergic, alpha-adrenergic and cholinergic receptors did not inhibit the effects of procaine or lidocaine on iCRH secretion, whereas both GABA and dexamethasone exerted inhibitory effects.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Hormone and Metabolic Research 02/1990; 22(1):25-8. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute or chronic cocaine administration exerts multiple behavioral and physiologic effects including stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Pharmacologically, cocaine shares major properties with at least 2 classes of pharmaceuticals. It is a local anesthetic and also a potent psychomotor stimulant. The psychomotor stimulant properties of cocaine are thought to be related to its ability to modify the metabolism and the activity of many neurotransmitter systems, such as acetylcholine (ACh), serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine (NE), and dopamine (DA). We and others have shown that all these neurotransmitters are potent stimulants of hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion. The present study was undertaken to examine whether cocaine stimulates hypothalamic CRH secretion and whether or not such an effect is mediated by any of the above neurotransmitters. To accomplish this task, we employed a rat hypothalamic organ culture system, in which CRH secretion form single explanted hypothalami was evaluated by specific radioimmunoassay (iCRH). Cocaine stimulated iCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion with peak of activity at 10−8 M. Isolated or simultaneous pharmacologic blockade of cholinergic (atropine plus hexamethonium), serotonergic (ritanserin), α-adrenergic (phentolamine) and/or dopaminergic (compound SCH 23390) receptor subtypes failed to inhibit cocaine-induced iCRH secretion. On the other hand, cocaine-induced iCRH secretion was inhibited by GABA, a potent inhibitor of CRH secretion, dexamethasone, verapamil, a calcium channel blocker, tetrodotoxin, a sodium channel blocker, and carbamazepine, an antiepileptic and antidepressive agent. These data suggest that cocaine stimulates hypothalamic CRH secretion and that this effect may be related to the local anesthetic properties of cocaine rather than to increases of ACh, 5-HT, NE and/or DA. We speculate that cocaine activates the HPA axis in vivo by releasing hypothalamic CRH.
    Brain Research 01/1990; · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Experimental evidence suggests that serotonin (5HT) is excitatory to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and that this effect involves activation of both hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and pituitary ACTH secretion. The present study was undertaken to examine the mechanism by which 5HT stimulates the central component of the HPA axis. To accomplish this we employed an in vitro rat hypothalamic organ culture system in which CRH secretion from single explanted hypothalami was measured by specific radioimmunoassay (IR-rCRH). All experiments were performed after an overnight (15–18 hr) preincubation. Serotonin stimulated IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion. The response was bell-shaped and the peak effect was observed at the concentration of 10−9 M. The stimulatory effect of 10−9 M 5HT was antagonized by the 5HT1 and 5HT2 receptor antagonist metergoline and by the selective 5HT2 receptor antagonists ketanserin and ritanserin. The muscarinic antagonist atropine, the nicotinic antagonist hexamethonium and the α-adrenergic receptor antagonist phentolamine, on the other hand, did not inhibit 5HT-induced IR-rCRH secretion. The specific 5HT2 receptor agonist 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodo-phenyl)-2-aminopropane (DOI) stimulated IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion. The response was bell-shaped with peak of effect reached at the concentration of 10−9 M. We also tested the ability of the 5HT agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) and of the selective 5HT1A receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) to cause CRH secretion. Although both m-CPP and 8-OH-DPAT stimulated IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion, several differences were observed when their effect was compared to that of 5HT. These included a different shape of the dose-response curve, a lower maximal stimulatory effect and a different maximal stimulatory concentration. These findings suggest that serotonin stimulates CRH secretion by explanted rat hypothalami and that this effect appears to be mediated mainly through a 5HT2 receptor mechanism.
    Peptides 01/1989; · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) has been considered a major coordinator of the overall physical and behavioral response to stress. Moreover, prolonged hypersecretion of CRH has been implicated in the pathogenesis of disorders characterized by anxiety and/ or depression. Drugs acting through the γ-aminobutyric acid/benzodiazepine (GABA/BZD) receptor system have anxiolytic and/or antidepressant properties whereas benzodiazepine inverse agonists cause anxiety and stimulate the pituitary-adrenal axis in vivo. To examine the involvement of the GABA/BZD system in the regulation of hypothalamic CRH secretion, we studied the effects of various agonists and antagonists of GABAA and GABAB receptors using a sensitive rat hypothalamic organ culture with radioimmunoassayable CRH (IR-rCRH) as endpoint. The GABAA and GABAB receptor agonist GABA inhibited serotonin (5-HT)-induced IR-rCRH secretion from 10−9 to 10−6 M, but failed to do so at 10−5 M. The GABAA receptor agonist muscimol was a weak inhibitor of 5-HT-induced IR-rCRH secretion, being effective only at the concentration of 10−6 M. In contrast, the specific GABAB receptor agonist baclofen was able to inhibit 5-HT-induced IR-rCRH secretion from 10−7 to 10−5 M. The rank of potency was thus, GABA > baclofen > muscimol. Bicuculine, a GABAA receptor antagonist, partially reversed the inhibitory effects of GABA. Diazepam, a classic benzodiazepine which interacts with the benzodiazepine-site of the GABAA receptor complex, inhibited 5-HT-induced IR-rCRH secretion from3.3 × 10−9to 10−5 M, an effect that could be reversed the BZD inactive ligand Ro15-1788. The diazepam inverse agonist γ-carboline-3-carboxylic acid methylester was a potent stimulator of IR-rCRH secretion and its effect was antagonized only by high concentrations of diazepam but not by Ro15-1788. These results suggest that the GABA/BZD system is involved in the regulation of CRH secretion. It appears that both GABAA and GABAB receptors mediate the suppressive effects of GABA upon 5-HT-induced CRH secretion. We speculate that drugs acting through the GABA/BZD system may exert, at least in part, their anxiolytic and/or antidepressant effects via suppression of central CRH secretion.
    Brain Research 11/1988; · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine whether the hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) neuron is regulated by CRH, by products of the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene, and/or by glucocorticoids, we used a rat hypothalamic organ culture system in which rat CRH secretion from single explanted hypothalami was evaluated by an RIA (iCRH) specific for rat CRH. The effects of graded concentrations of ovine CRH (oCRH), adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), beta-endorphin (beta-EP), alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), corticotropin-like intermediate lobe peptide (CLIP), ovine beta-lipotropin (ovine beta-LPH), and dexamethasone (DEX) upon unstimulated and serotonin- (5HT), acetylcholine- (ACh), and norepinephrine-(NE) stimulated CRH secretion were determined. oCRH and DEX inhibited unstimulated iCRH secretion with ID50 at the 10(-8) M range. ACTH had no detectable suppressive effect at 10(-8) M. oCRH, ACTH, and DEX inhibited 5HT-, ACh-, and NE-stimulated iCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion. beta-EP, alpha-MSH, and CLIP also inhibited 5HT-induced iCRH secretion. Of the latter peptides, the strongest inhibitor was beta-EP and the weakest was CLIP. Ovine beta-LPH had only a weak inhibitory effect on 5HT-induced iCRH secretion. Generally, the concentrations required for 50% suppression of neurotransmitter-stimulated iCRH secretion were significantly lower than those required for a similar suppression of unstimulated iCRH secretion. In conclusion, these data suggest the presence of multiple negative feedback loops involved in the regulation of the hypothalamic CRH neuron: an ultrashort CRH-mediated loop, a short, hypothalamic POMC-derived peptide loop, and a long, glucocorticoid-mediated negative feedback loop. The potency of these negative feedback loops may be determined by the state of activation of the CRH neuron.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/1988; 82(3):767-74. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To further our understanding of the functional role of catecholaminergic systems in regulating hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion, we assessed the direct effects of a multiplicity of catecholamine agonists and antagonists on hypothalamic CRH secretion. To accomplish this, we used an in vitro rat hypothalamic organ culture system in which CRH secretion from single explants was evaluated by a specific RIA (IR-rCRH). Norepinephrine (NE) stimulated IR-rCRH secretion dose dependently, with peak effects in the nanomolar range. The effect of NE was antagonized by the mixed alpha antagonist phentolamine, the alpha 1 antagonist prazosin, and the alpha 2 antagonist yohimbine, but not by the beta blocker, L-propanolol. Compatible with these data were the findings that the alpha 1 agonist phenylephrine and the alpha 2 agonist clonidine both stimulated IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion. On the other hand, whereas the beta agonist, isoproterenol, caused a weak, non-dose-dependent increase in IR-rCRH secretion, this effect could not be antagonized by L-propanolol. Despite pretreatment with serotonin and acetylcholine antagonists, the effect of NE upon IR-rCRH secretion was undiminished, suggesting that NE-induced CRH secretion is not mediated by either neurotransmitter. On the other hand, pretreatment with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) attenuated NE-induced IR-rCRH secretion. Whereas epinephrine (E) stimulated IR-rCRH secretion, this occurred only at higher concentrations, and was antagonized by phentolamine, but not by L-propanolol. Dopamine (DA) had a weak stimulatory effect that could be antagonized by the DA1 receptor antagonist, SCH 23390, but not by phentolamine. We conclude that NE and E stimulate hypothalamic IR-rCRH secretion via alpha 1 and alpha 2 receptors. The effect of NE upon IR-rCRH secretion is not apparently mediated by serotonergic or cholinergic interneurons, but is modulated by the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. These data support the idea that the central catecholaminergic systems are excitatory rather than inhibitory upon CRH secretion when acting directly at the hypothalamic level.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 10/1988; 82(3):839-46. · 12.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU 486 has been used to treat the hypercortisolism of patients with nonpituitary Cushing's syndrome. Since endogenous cortisol production fluctuates in many patients with either the ectopic ACTH syndrome or adrenocortical tumors, treatment of these patients with a fixed dose of RU 486 introduces the risk of adrenal insufficiency. While RU 486 possesses some glucocorticoid agonist activity in addition to its potent antagonist effects, it is not known whether this intrinsic agonist activity is of sufficient magnitude to prevent adrenal insufficiency and sustain life. To answer this question three groups of bilaterally adrenalectomized cynomolgus monkeys (n = 5/group) were randomized to receive a daily injection of RU 486 (5 mg/kg.day), cortisol (1.25 mg/kg.day), or saline (placebo). All adrenalectomized monkeys received weekly im injections of deoxycorticosterone pivalate (1 mg) to prevent mineralocorticoid deficiency. Five sham-adrenalectomized monkeys served as controls and received im injections of saline (placebo). Blood was collected before adrenalectomy or sham operation and every 3 days postoperatively for measurement of serum electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine; plasma ACTH concentrations; and complete blood and differential cell counts. All sham-operated and cortisol-replaced adrenalectomized monkeys survived, and none developed overt biochemical evidence of adrenal insufficiency. All placebo and RU 486-replaced adrenalectomized monkeys expired within 33 days after adrenalectomy, presumably from adrenal insufficiency. These findings suggest that while RU 486 is a partial glucocorticoid agonist, its degree of glucocorticoid agonism is inadequate to prevent adrenal insufficiency and support life in adrenalectomized primates.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 10/1988; 67(3):602-6. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied recently bereaved individuals with the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) stimulation test. Subjects with a bereavement complicated by a depressive illness (n = 9) had significantly higher basal plasma cortisol levels and smaller plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) responses to CRH than either subjects with an uncomplicated bereavement (n = 19) or normal controls (n = 34). Subjects with depressed bereavement showed ACTH responses to CRH similar to those of depressed patients (n = 30). Bereaved subjects who had received psychotropic medications in the past (n = 13), compared with those who had not (n = 15), showed significantly smaller plasma ACTH responses to CRH. Significantly more subjects with bereavement complicated by depression, as compared to subjects whose bereavement was uncomplicated, had a past history of treatment for depression. These results suggest that predisposed individuals may respond to the stress of bereavement with a depressive illness accompanied by dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
    Psychiatry Research 09/1988; 25(2):145-56. · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoid receptors are present in most normal and malignant mammalian cells. To examine the hypothesis that the growth of methylcholanthrene-induced malignant sarcoma is glucocorticoid dependent, we evaluated the behavior of malignant fibrosarcoma (MCA) in adrenalectomized rats treated with either normal saline or deoxycorticosterone acetate and in intact rats treated with placebo or with the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist RU 486. Survival, tumor weight, and loss of body weight (an index of cachexia) were measured. In MCA-bearing rats, neither survival nor loss of body weight was affected by bilateral adrenalectomy or by treatment with RU 486. Tumor weight and time-integrated tumor volume, however, were significantly less in bilaterally adrenalectomized rats without deoxycorticosterone acetate replacement than in animals treated with deoxycorticosterone acetate. Similarly, tumor weight and time-integrated tumor volume were less in intact animals treated with RU 486 than in intact animals treated with placebo. The glucocorticoid receptors in the tumor cells had similar binding capacity (Ro) and equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) as in control rat fibroblasts. These results suggest that the growth of MCA sarcoma cells is partially dependent upon glucocorticoids. This effect of glucocorticoids, however, was not of sufficient magnitude to improve survival and prevent cachexia. We conclude that glucocorticoids appear to influence MCA sarcoma growth in the rat, and that glucocorticoid receptor blockade, perhaps in combination with other antitumor agents, merits future study in the treatment of malignant tumors.
    Cancer Research 06/1988; 48(10):2703-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several lines of experimental evidence suggest that acetylcholine (ACh) is excitatory to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Since previous experiments have shown that ACh does not affect pituitary adrenocorticotropin secretion in vitro, we hypothesized that ACh stimulates the HPA axis by causing hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion. We examined this hypothesis using an organ culture system that measures the ability of single rat hypothalami to secrete immunoreactive CRH (IR-rCRH) in vitro. ACh stimulated hypothalamic IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion, at concentrations ranging from 3.3 x 10(-10) to 10(-5) M. This effect was antagonized by the simultaneous presence of atropine and hexamethonium, a muscarinic and a nicotinic receptor antagonist, respectively (p less than 0.05). Further evidence for the cholinergic regulation of the CRH neuron was provided by the findings that both carbachol, a muscarinic receptor agonist, and nicotine, a nicotinic receptor agonist, stimulated IR-rCRH secretion in a dose-dependent fashion. These effects were antagonized by atropine and hexamethonium, respectively, suggesting that both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors are involved in the process. ACh stimulated hypothalamic IR-rCRH secretion in the presence of phentolamine, an alpha-adrenergic antagonist, and ritanserin, a serotonin2 receptor antagonist, suggesting that the cholinergic stimulation of CRH secretion is not mediated by alpha-adrenergic or serotonergic interneurons. We conclude that ACh stimulates hypothalamic CRH secretion via both muscarinic and nicotinic receptor mechanisms.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
    Neuroendocrinology 05/1988; 47(4):303-8. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermal growth factor (EGF), a polypeptide mitogen that participates in wound healing, has ACTH-like activity in ewes. We examined its effects on the primate hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis by administering mouse EGF (mEGF) iv (0-100 micrograms/kg) to rhesus monkeys. mEGF caused dose-dependent elevations of plasma ACTH and cortisol in these animals. To define whether the locus of stimulation was the hypothalamus and/or the pituitary gland we examined the capacity of mEGF to directly stimulate hypothalamic CRH or pituitary ACTH secretion in a rat hypothalamic organ culture system and a rat pituitary cell system, respectively. mEGF stimulated hypothalamic CRH release in a dose-dependent manner, but failed to cause pituitary ACTH release. We conclude that EGF is a stimulator of the HPA axis in primates. Thus, EGF, and/or one of its naturally occurring analogs, may participate in the physiological activation of the HPA axis at times during which the concentrations of these factors are raised in the systemic circulation and/or locally in the hypothalamus. Such states may include trauma, surgery, and possibly emotional stress.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 03/1988; 66(2):334-7. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the hypothesis that chronic, low dose, alternate day prednisone treatment may suppress adrenal androgen secretion without causing long term suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis we studied seven patients with systemic lupus erythematosus who had been taking low dose (5-20 mg), alternate day prednisone therapy for at least 1 yr. Basal and ovine CRH (oCRH)-stimulated plasma ACTH, cortisol, and adrenal androgen levels were measured 12 h (day on) and 36 h (day off) after the most recent dose of prednisone, and the results were compared to those in seven age- and sex-matched normal subjects. The patients' basal ACTH and cortisol levels did not differ significantly from those in the normal subjects on either the day on or the day off prednisone treatment. By contrast, their basal adrenal androgen levels were significantly decreased compared to those in normal subjects on both the day on and the day off prednisone (P less than 0.05). The patients' oCRH-stimulated ACTH and cortisol levels on the day off prednisone did not differ from normal levels, but were significantly blunted during the day on prednisone (P less than 0.05). In contrast, the patient's oCRH-stimulated adrenal androgen levels were significantly decreased during both the day off and the day on prednisone (P less than 0.05). These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that chronic alternate day prednisone therapy, at doses close to or below replacement, suppresses adrenal androgen levels without long term suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Based upon these findings, we postulate that an alternate day regimen of prednisone might maintain the benefits while reducing the risks of glucocorticoid therapy of adrenal hyperandrogenism.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 08/1987; 65(1):24-9. · 6.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the effects of physical conditioning on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, we examined the plasma ACTH, cortisol, and lactate responses in sedentary subjects, moderately trained runners, and highly trained runners to graded levels of treadmill exercise (50, 70, and 90 percent of maximal oxygen uptake) and to intravenous ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone (1 microgram per kilogram of body weight). Basal evening concentrations of ACTH and cortisol, but not of lactate, were elevated in highly trained runners as compared with sedentary subjects and moderately trained runners. Exercise-stimulated ACTH, cortisol, and lactate responses were similar in all groups and were proportional to the exercise intensity employed. These responses, however, were attenuated in the trained subjects when plotted against applied absolute workload. Only the highly trained group had diminished responses of ACTH and cortisol to ovine corticotropin-releasing hormone, consistent with sustained hypercortisolism. We conclude that physical conditioning is associated with a reduction in pituitary-adrenal activation in response to a given workload. Alterations of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis consistent with mild hypercortisolism and similar to findings in depression and anorexia nervosa were found only in highly trained runners. Whether these alterations represent an adaptive change to the daily stress of strenuous exercise or a marker of a specific personality profile in highly trained athletes is unknown.
    New England Journal of Medicine 01/1987; 316(21):1309-1315. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During a drug-free period a group of schizophrenic subjects (N = 9) showed normal mean basal plasma ACTH and cortisol levels in association with normal plasma ACTH and cortisol responses to an infusion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Administration of fluphenazine had no effect on basal ACTH and cortisol levels or their responses to CRH (N = 8). These data differ from those previously reported in depressed patients, who showed elevated basal cortisol values in association with a blunted ACTH response to CRH, and add to a growing body of literature which suggests that hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal regulation is less disturbed in schizophrenia than in depression.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 12/1986; 143(11):1393-7. · 14.72 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
329.96 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1993
    • National Institute on Drug Abuse
      Maryland, United States
    • National Eye Institute
      Maryland, United States
  • 1986–1993
    • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
      Maryland, United States
  • 1986–1991
    • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      Maryland, United States