Cannabinoid-mediated regulation of the hypothalamopituitary-adrenal axis in rats: Age dependent role of vasopressin

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Objective. Adaptation to stress is a fundamental component of life and the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA) plays a crucial role in it. The place of cannabinoid influence seems to be in the brain, especially where corticotropin releasing hormone and vasopressin (AVP) secreting neurons are located. The role of AVP is considered to be more important in young than in adult rats. Here we addressed the question if cannabinoid-mediated regulation of the HPA involves AVP and if there is any difference between young and adult rats in this process. Methods. 10-day-old and adult AVP deficient Brattleboro rats were compared with their heterozygous littermates 1h after WIN 55,212-2 (6mg/kg i.p.) injection. Results. In control animals the injection led to elevated adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and corticosterone hormone levels at both ages without remarkable age difference in ACTH levels while all corticosterone levels of adults was approximately 10-times higher. The ACTH secretion of young AVP deficient rats failed to react to WIN 55,212-2 injection while their corticosterone levels were even higher than their littermates. In contrast in adult the role of AVP was diminished. Conclusions. We can conclude that the peripheral administration of cannabinoids leads to HPA axis stimulation, which process involves AVP at least in the young rats. The discrepancy between ACTH and corticosterone levels in young rats suggests an alternative adrenal gland regulatory pathway, which might be present in all studied animals. However, it comes to the front just in AVP deficient pups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrine regulations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009


  • ACTH
  • Adulthood
  • Corticosterone
  • Neonatal period
  • Vasopressin
  • WIN 55,212-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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