Molecular and cellular endocrinology

The integration of multiple signaling pathways provides for bidirectional control of CRHR1 gene transcription in rat pituitary cell during hypoxia.

PMID 28572045


Hypoxia upregulates hypothalamic corticotrophin releasing hormone (CRH) and its receptor type-1 (CRHR1) expression and activates the HPA axis and induces hypoxic sickness and behavioral change. The transcriptional mechanism by which hypoxia differently regulates CRHR1 expression remains unclear. Here we report hypoxia time-dependently induced biphasic expression of CRHR1mRNA in rat pituitary during different physiological status. Short exposure of gestational dams to hypoxia reduced CRHR1mRNA in the pituitary of P1-P14 male rat offspring. A short- and prolonged-hypoxia evoked biphasic response of CRHR1mRNA characterized initially by decreases and subsequently by persistent increases, mediated by a rapid negative feedback via CRHR1 signaling and positive transcriptional control via NF-κB, respectively. Further analysis of CRHR1 promoter in cultured primary anterior pituitary and AtT20 cells showed that c-Jun/AP-1 delivered negative while HIF-1α and NF-κB delivered positive control of transcription at CRHR1 promoter. The negative and positive inputs are integrated by hypoxic initiation and duration in CRHR1 transcription.