Clusterin is a sulfated glycoprotein abundantly expressed in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus of mammals. However, its physiological role in neuroendocrine function is largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of clusterin on plasma pituitary hormone levels in normal rats. Single ICV injection of clusterin provoked neurohormonal changes seen under acute stress condition: increased plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), corticosterone, GH and prolactin levels and decreased LH and FSH levels. Consistently, hypothalamic and pituitary clusterin expression levels were upregulated following a restraint stress, suggesting an involvement of endogenous clusterin in stress-induced neurohormonal changes. In the pituitary intermediate lobe, clusterin was coexpressed with proopiomelanocortin (POMC), a precursor of ACTH. Treatment of clusterin in POMC expressing AtT-20 pituitary cells increased basal and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-stimulated POMC promoter activities and intracellular cAMP levels. Furthermore, clusterin treatment triggered ACTH secretion from AtT-20 cells in a CRH-dependent manner, indicating that increased clusterin under stressful conditions may augment CRH-stimulated ACTH production and release. In summary, hypothalamic and pituitary clusterin may function as a modulator of neurohormonal responses under stressful conditions.
- Neurohormonal changes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience