Reduced glucocorticoid response to corticotropin secretagogues in the aged Sprague-Dawley rat

S. Scaccianoce, R. Nicolai, G. Cigliana, L. Angelucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging, as well as some frequently associated pathological conditions (depression, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, etc.), has been shown to have a profound impact on the normal functioning of the hippocampus-hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis system. The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis in the aged rat is characterized by an increase in the basal level of circulating corticosterone, an impaired ability to recover from the adrenocortical stress response, and a reduced sensitivity to the dexamethasone suppression test. All these alterations may arise from a reduced hippocampal negative feedback control of the axis, as suggested by the age-dependent loss of hippocampal adrenocorticoid receptors. Among the hypothalamic corticotropin secretagogues, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine-vasopressin (AVP) are considered the main physiological mediators of hypothalamic control of ACTH release. Thus, we have investigated the dynamic and the temporal course of the adrenocortical response to CRH and AVP in the aged rat. Freely moving jugular-catheterized male Sprague-Dawley rats (3- and 24- month-old) were injected with CRH (0.5, 0.05 and 0.01 μg/kg i.v.), or AVP (1.0, 0.1 and 0.05 μg/kg i.v.), or CRH and AVP in combination. In addition, adrenocortical sensitivity to corticotropin has been studied by injecting ACTH (10 ng/kg i.v.). Our study has (1) indicated that the response to ACTH secretagogues is dampened with aging, and (2) shown in the aged rat a slower recovery. Moreover, the results had confirmed the ago-dependent increase in the basal level of corticosterone in the rat, and shown no age-related differences in the glucocorticoid response to ACTH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Aging
  • Arginine-vasopressin
  • Corticosterone
  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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