ACTH, alpha-MSH, and control of cortisol release: cloning, sequencing, and functional expression of the melanocortin-2 and melanocortin-5 receptor in Cyprinus carpio
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SourceAmerican Journal of Physiology : Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 289, 3, (2005), pp. R814-26
Article / Letter to editor
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Animal Ecology & Physiology
Organismal Animal Physiology
American Journal of Physiology : Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
SubjectOrganismal Animal Physiology
Cortisol release from fish head kidney during the acute phase of the stress response is controlled by the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary pars distalis (PD). Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) and beta-endorphin, from the pars intermedia (PI), have been implicated in cortisol release during the chronic phase. The present study addresses the regulation of cortisol release by ACTH and alpha-MSH in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and includes characterization of their receptors, namely, the melanocortin-2 and melanocortin-5 receptors (MC2R and MC5R). We could not demonstrate corticotropic activity of alpha-MSH, beta-endorphin, and combinations of these. We do show a corticotrope in the PI, but its identity is as yet uncertain. Carp restrained for 1 and 7 days showed elevated plasma cortisol and alpha-MSH levels; cortisol is still elevated but lower at day 7 than day 1 of restraint. Interrenal response capacity is unaffected, as estimated by stimulation with a maximum dose ACTH in a superfusion setup. MC2R and MC5R appear phylogenetically well conserved. MC2R is predominantly expressed in head kidney; a low abundance was found in spleen and kidney. MC5R is expressed in brain, pituitary PD, kidney, and skin. Quantitative PCR analysis of MC2R and MC5R expression in the head kidney of restrained fish reveals MC2R mRNA downregulation after 7 days restraint, in line with lower plasma cortisol levels seen. We discuss regulation of corticosteroid production from a phylogenetic perspective. We propose that increased levels of alpha-MSH exert a positive feedback on hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone release to sustain a mild stress axis activity.
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