The mechanisms underpinning stress-related behavior and dysfunctional events leading to the expression of neuropsychiatric disorders remain incompletely understood. Novel candidates involved in the neuromodulation of stress, mediated both peripherally and centrally, provide opportunities for improved understanding of the neurobiological basis of stress disorders and may represent targets for novel therapeutic development. This chapter provides an overview of the mechanisms by which the opioid-related peptide, nociceptin, regulates the neuroendocrine stress response and stress-related behavior. In our research, we have employed nociceptin receptor antagonists to investigate endogenous nociceptin function in tonic control over stress-induced activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. Nociceptin demonstrates a wide range of functions, including modulation of psychological and inflammatory stress responses, modulation of neurotransmitter release, immune homeostasis, in addition to anxiety and cognitive behaviors. Greater appreciation of the complexity of limbic-hypothalamic neuronal networks, together with attention toward gender differences and the roles of steroid hormones, provides an opportunity for deeper understanding of the importance of the nociceptin system in the context of the neurobiology of stress and behavior.
|Name||Vitamins and Hormones|