OPEN ACCESS ARTICLE – The CRF Family of Neuropeptides and their Receptors – Mediators of the Central Stress Response

Journal Name: Current Molecular Pharmacology

Author(s): Nina Dedic, Alon Chen*, Jan M. Deussing.




Graphical Abstract:



Background: Dysregulated stress neurocircuits, caused by genetic and/or environmental changes, underlie the development of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is the major physiological activator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and consequently a primary regulator of the mammalian stress response. Together with its three family members, urocortins (UCNs) 1, 2, and 3, CRF integrates the neuroendocrine, autonomic, metabolic and behavioral responses to stress by activating its cognate receptors CRFR1 and CRFR2.

Objective: Here we review the past and current state of the CRF/CRFR field, ranging from pharmacological studies to genetic mouse models and virus-mediated manipulations.

Results: Although it is well established that CRF/CRFR1 signaling mediates aversive responses, including anxiety and depression-like behaviors, a number of recent studies have challenged this viewpoint by revealing anxiolytic and appetitive properties of specific CRF/CRFR1 circuits. In contrast, the UCN/CRFR2 system is less well understood and may possibly also exert divergent functions on physiology and behavior depending on the brain region, underlying circuit, and/or experienced stress conditions.

Conclusion: A plethora of available genetic tools, including conventional and conditional mouse mutants targeting CRF system components, has greatly advanced our understanding about the endogenous mechanisms underlying HPA system regulation and CRF/UCN-related neuronal circuits involved in stress-related behaviors. Yet, the detailed pathways and molecular mechanisms by which the CRF/UCN-system translates negative or positive stimuli into the final, integrated biological response are not completely understood. The utilization of future complementary methodologies, such as cell-type specific Cre-driver lines, viral and optogenetic tools will help to further dissect the function of genetically defined CRF/UCN neurocircuits in the context of adaptive and maladaptive stress responses.




EDITOR’S CHOICE – Coping with Stress During Aging – Current Neuropharmacology

Journal: Current Neuropharmacology

Author(s): P. Sampedro-Piquero*, P. Alvarez-Suarez, A. Begega

Graphical Abstract:



Background: Resilience is the ability to achieve a positive outcome when we are in the face of adversity. It supposes an active resistance to adversity by coping mechanisms in which genetic, molecular, neural and environmental factors are involved. Resilience has been usually studied in early ages and few is known about it during aging.

Methods: In this review, we will address the age-related changes in the brain mechanisms involved in regulating the stress response. Furthermore, using the EE paradigm, we analyse the resilient potential of this intervention and its neurobiological basis. In this case, we will focus on identifying the characteristics of a resilient brain (modifications in HPA structure and function, neurogenesis, specific neuron types, glia, neurotrophic factors, nitric oxide synthase or microRNAs, among others).

Results: The evidence suggests that a healthy lifestyle has a crucial role to promote a resilient brain during aging. Along with the behavioral changes described, a better regulation of HPA axis, enhanced levels of postmitotic type-3 cells or changes in GABAergic neurotransmission are some of the brain mechanisms involved in resilience.

Conclusion: Future research should identify different biomarkers that increase the resistance to develop mood disorders and based on this knowledge, develop new potential therapeutic targets.

Read more here:



Pedraza Carmen

Contributed Article: “Stress, Depression, Resilience and Ageing: A Role for the LPA-LPA1 Pathway

Stress and Heart!

Everyone feels stressed in different ways and their reaction to it varies from person to person. Stress can lead to many health problems. When stressed some people panic, smoke, drink and overact and react.  All of these lead to many heart diseases. Stress may enhance factors that can cause heart disease like cholesterol, high blood pressure etc. Stress can also cause back strain, stomach pains and headache. A new study also shows that people who experience higher level of stress also have increased inflammations in the arteries which can lead to many heart problems.

Distressed young manager man holds her head with hand

A new study was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session. In that study imaging was used to look at 293 people’s brain and arteries. Researchers revealed that stress activity in an area of the brain called the amygdala, which is where emotions are processed, was linked to increased inflammation in a person’s arteries. It was noted that 35% of the people who experienced high stress suffered a heart event.

There are many techniques which can help a person to cope with stress. For instance, balanced diet and regular physical activity like yoga can help a person to relax, and stay happy and calm.

Blog ::: Stress Levels in Teens Effected By Use of Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media website used worldwide. Among the most regular users of Facebook the count of teenagers is rapidly increasing. But most users do not realize that Facebook can have an impact on their psychological state.


Facebook can have positive and negative effects on teens levels of a stress hormone, researchers at the University of Montreal and the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal found. They conducted research on teenagers from ages 12 to 17 and discovered that users who had more than 300 friends on Facebook had higher level of cortisol, the enzyme which causes stress. While the users who tended to help or encourage their friends by posting comments or liking their published content were actually lowering their cortisol level.

There obviously are other contributors for the change in levels but the social media website has added itself to the list.

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