IMR Press / FBL / Volume 12 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.2741/2083

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Peripheral corticotropin-releasing hormone is produced in the immune and reproductive systems: actions, potential roles and clinical implications
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1 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Ioannina, Greece
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Crete, School of Medicine, Heraklion, Greece
3 1st Department of Pediatrics, Choremeio Research Laboratory, University of Athens, School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
Academic Editor:Richard Nicholson
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2007, 12(2), 572–580;
Published: 1 January 2007

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), the principal regulator of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, has been identified in various organ systems, including the immune and the female and male reproductive systems. CRH-like immunoreactivity has been reported in peripheral inflammatory sites and in a number of reproductive organs, including the ovaries, endometrial glands, decidualized endometrial stroma, placenta, decidua, and the testes. Therefore, "immune" and "reproductive" CRH are forms of "tissue" CRH; i.e., CRH found in peripheral tissues. Immune CRH plays a direct immunomodulatory role as an autocrine/paracrine mediator of inflammation. Immune CRH participates in several experimental inflammations and, in humans, in inflamed tissues from patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. One of the early effects of immune CRH is the degranulation of mast cells and the release of histamine and several inflammatory cytokines. Reproductive CRH is regulating reproductive functions with an inflammatory component, such as ovulation, luteolysis, decidualization, implantation, and early maternal tolerance. Placental CRH participates in the physiology of pregnancy and the onset of labor. Circulating placental CRH is responsible for the physiologic hypercortisolism of the latter half of pregnancy. Postpartum, this hypercortisolism is followed by a transient adrenal suppression, which may explain the blues/depression and increased autoimmune phenomena observed during this period.

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