Corticotropin-releasing hormone stimulates steroidogenesis in cultured human adrenal cells.

Academic Article


  • The effects of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) on steroid production by cultures of human fetal adrenal cells was investigated. We found that CRH, at concentrations that have been reported to exist in human fetal serum, stimulated dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DS) and cortisol production by cultured fetal zone and neocortical zone cells. A dose-dependent increase in secretion of both steroids was noted, with the cortisol pathway being preferentially enhanced by CRH at high concentrations. Pretreatment of adrenal cells for 3 days made them more responsive to ACTH stimulation and such effects were dose-dependent also. Inclusion of the antagonist, alpha-helical CRH (9-41) blocked CRH-induced stimulation of DS and cortisol over a broad dose range and also interfered with the augmentation of cortisol secretion noted after ACTH in CRH treated cells. CRH had no effects on adrenal cell proliferation or total cell protein. These studies are suggestive that CRH, either of systemic origin or else produced within the adrenal itself, has the potential to be a modulator of adrenal steroid production in the human.
  • Authors

    Published In


  • Adrenal Cortex, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Cells, Cultured, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone, Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Fetal Blood, Fetus, Hormone Antagonists, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Kinetics, Peptide Fragments, Time Factors
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Parker CR; Stankovic AM; Goland RS
  • Start Page

  • 19
  • End Page

  • 25
  • Volume

  • 155
  • Issue

  • 1-2