Rapid changes in monoamine levels following administration of corticotropin-releasing factor or corticosterone are localized in the dorsomedial hypothalamus

Christopher A. Lowry, Kathy A. Burke, Kenneth J. Renner, Frank L. Moore, Miles Orchinik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Monoaminergic systems are important modulators of the neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses to stress-related stimuli. The male roughskin newt (Taricha granulosa) was used as a model system to investigate the effects of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) or corticosterone administration on tissue concentrations of norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, serotonin, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in microdissected brain areas. Intracerebroventricular infusion of 25 or 50 ng of CRF increased locomotor activity and site-specifically increased dopamine concentrations within the dorsomedial hypothalamus 30 min after treatment when compared to vehicle-treated controls. In further studies, male newts were treated as follows: (1) no injection, no handling, (2) saline injection, or (3) 10 μg corticosterone and then placed in a novel environment. Monoamine and monoamine metabolite concentrations were similar in the unhandled and saline-injected controls 20 min after treatment. In contrast, corticosterone-injected newts had elevated concentrations of dopamine, serotonin, and 5-HIAA in the dorsomedial hypothalamus (a region that contains dopamine- and serotonin-accumulating neuronal cell bodies in representatives of all vertebrate classes) but not in several other regions studied. These site-specific neurochemical effects parallel neurochemical changes observed in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus of mammals following exposure to a variety of physical and psychological stress-related stimuli. Therefore, these changes may reflect highly conserved, site-specific neurochemical responses to stress and stress-related neurochemicals in vertebrates. Given the important role of the dorsomedial hypothalamus in neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses to stress, and a proposed role for this region in fast-feed-back effects of glucocorticoids on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, these stress-related monoaminergic changes are likely to have important physiological or behavioral consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Amphibian
  • Anxiety
  • CRH
  • DMH
  • DUN
  • Glucocorticoid
  • L-tryptophan
  • Locomotion
  • Paraventricular organ
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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