The Corticotropin-releasing Hormone (CRH) mammalian family members include CRH,
urocortin I, Stresscopin (SCP) and Stresscopin-related peptide (SRP), along with the CRH receptors
type 1 (CRHR1) and type 2 (CRHR2), and CRH-binding protein (CRH-BP). These family members
differ in their tissue distribution and pharmacology. Several studies have provided evidence supporting
an important role of this family in the regulation of the neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to
stress. Regulation of the relative contribution of CRH and its homologs and the two CRH receptors in
brain CRH pathways may be essential in coordinating physiologic responses to stress. The development
of disorders related to heightened stress sensitivity and dysregulation of stress-coping mechanisms appears
to involve regulatory mechanisms of the CRH family members. Therapeutic agents that target
CRH family members may offer a new approach to the treatment of these disorders. The purpose of this
review is to summarize the most significant discoveries related to CRH over time.
Keywords: CRH, urocortin, stresscopin, antalarmin, general adaptation syndrome, stress.
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