Response of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis to nicotine

Shannon G. Matta, Yitong Fu, James D. Valentine, Burt Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nicotine has been shown to be a potent stimulus for the secretion of the stress-responsive hormones, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and prolactin. This paper reviews the findings by our laboratory and others that demonstrate the polysynaptic pathways involved in the neuroendocrine responses to systemic nicotine. It will focus primarily on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the effect of nicotine on ACTH secretion, with supplementary information on prolactin secretion, where relevant. Data are presented demonstrating that nicotine acts via a central mechanism to stimulate indirectly the release of ACTH from the anterior pituitary corticotropes. Nicotine does not appear to act directly at the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), the site of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) neurons crucial to the regulation of ACTH. However, brainstem catecholaminergic regions projecting to the PVN showed a regionally selective and dose- dependent sensitivity to nicotine, particularly the noradrenergic/adrenergic nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). A reduction in the modulatory effect of these catecholamines (by neurotoxic lesion, synthetic enzyme inhibitors or adrenergic receptor antagonists) resulted in an inhibition of nicotine- stimulated ACTH secretion. In addition, blockade of nicotinic cholinergic receptors (NAchRs) in the brainstem by the antagonist, mecamylamine, resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in norepinephrine (NE) release from terminals in the PVN, and a concomitant reduction in plasma ACTH. The differential sensitivity of these receptors to the nicotinic agonists, cytisine and nicotine, reflects the heterogeneity of the NAchR subtypes involved. The desensitization characteristics of the neuroendocrine responses to both acute and chronic nicotine exposure are indicative of an alteration in these NAchRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 1998

Fingerprint

Nicotine
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus
Prolactin
Brain Stem
Nicotinic Agonists
Mecamylamine
Adrenergic Antagonists
Solitary Nucleus
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
Nicotinic Receptors
Cholinergic Receptors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Adrenergic Agents
Catecholamines
Norepinephrine
Hormones
Neurons

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Response of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis to nicotine. / Matta, Shannon G.; Fu, Yitong; Valentine, James D.; Sharp, Burt.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 01.02.1998, p. 103-113.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Matta, Shannon G. ; Fu, Yitong ; Valentine, James D. ; Sharp, Burt. / Response of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis to nicotine. In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1998 ; Vol. 23, No. 2. pp. 103-113.
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