Urocortin-deficient mice display normal stress-induced anxiety behavior and autonomic control but an impaired acoustic startle response

Xiaozhong Wang, Hong Su, Leslie D. Copenhagen, Sukishi Vaishnav, Fredalina Pieri, Cynthia Do Shope, William E. Brownell, Mariella De Biasi, Richard Paylor, Allan Bradley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (Crh) plays an important role in modulating physiological and behavioral responses to stress. Its actions are mediated through two receptors, Crhr1 and Crhr2. Urocortin (Ucn), a Crh-related neuropeptide and the postulated endogenous ligand for Crhr2, is a potential mediator of stress responses. We generated Ucn-deficient mice using embryonic stem cell technology to determine its role in stress-induced behavioral and autonomic responses. Unlike Crhr1- or Crhr2-deficient mice, Ucn-deficient mice exhibit normal anxiety-like behavior as well as autonomic regulation in response to stress. However, the mutant mice display an impaired acoustic startle response that is not due to an obvious hearing defect. Thus, our results suggest that Ucn does not play an essential role in stress-induced behavioral and autonomic responses. Ucn may modulate the acoustic startle response through the Ucn-expressing neuron projections from the region of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6605-6610
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume22
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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