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Zeitschriftenartikel

Genetic modification of corticosteroid receptor signalling: Novel insights into pathophysiology and treatment strategies of human affective disorders

MPG-Autoren

Müller,  MB
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

Holsboer,  F
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

Keck,  ME
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Müller, M., Holsboer, F., & Keck, M. (2002). Genetic modification of corticosteroid receptor signalling: Novel insights into pathophysiology and treatment strategies of human affective disorders. Neuropeptides, 36(2-3), 117-131.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-A21F-5
Zusammenfassung
Every disturbance of the body, either real or imagined, evokes a stress response. Essential to this stress response is the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system, finally resulting in the release of glucocorticoid hormones from the adrenal cortex. Glucocorticoid hormones, in turn, feed back to this system by central activation of two types of corticosteroid receptors: the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) which markedly differ in their neuroanatomical distribution and ligand affinity. Whereas a brief period of controllable stress, experienced with general arousal and excitement, can be a challenge and might thus be beneficial, chronically elevated levels of circulating corticosteroids are believed to enhance vulnerability to a variety of diseases, including affective disorders. Corticosteroids are known to influence emotions and cognitive processes, such as learning and memory. In addition, corticosteroids play extremely important roles in modulating fear and anxiety-related behaviour. The mechanisms by which corticosteroids exert their effects on behaviour are often indirect, by modulating particular sets of neurons or neurotransmitter systems. In addition, the timing of corticosteroid increase (before, during or after exposure to a stressor) determines whether and how behaviour is affected. The cumulative evidence makes a strong case implicating corticosteroid receptor dysfunction in the pathogenesis of affective disorders. Although definitive controlled trials remain to be conducted, there is evidence indicating that cortisol-lowering or corticosteroid receptor antagonist treatments may be of clinical benefit in selected individuals with major depression. A more detailed knowledge of the GR signalling pathways therefore opens up the possibility to specifically target GR function. In recent years, refined molecular technologies and the generation of genetically engineered mice (e.g. "conventional" and "conditional" knock- outs) have allowed to specifically target individual genes involved in corticosteroid receptor signalling and stress hormone regulation. Given the fundamental role of corticosteroid receptors in hippocampal integrity and mental performance during aging and psychiatric disorders, the identification and detailed characterization of these molecular pathways will ultimately lead to the development of novel neuropharmacological intervention strategies. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserve