On the role of corticotropin-releasing hormone receptors in anxiety and depression

Johannes M H M Reul, Florian Holsboer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


On the basis of extensive basic and clinical studies, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and its related family members are considered to play a pivotal role in stress-related disorders, such as anxiety and depression. CRH is regarded as the principal mediator in the brain of the stress response, as it mediates neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses to stressful challenges. Recently, this neuropeptide family has expanded due to the discovery of two new members, urocortin II (also termed stresscopin-related peptide) and urocortin III (also termed stresscopin), which are selective agonists for the CRH receptor type 2. They show a discrete neuroanatomical localization and are involved in stress-coping responses, such as anxiolysis. Here, on the basis of recent developments, we suggest that CRH, the urocortins, and their receptors form a complex system in the brain, which is recruited during both the acute and the recovery phases of the stress response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalDialogues in clinical neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002

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