Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone (CRH)

Introduction to Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone

The paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, which releases hormones among other things, secretes a corticotropin-releasing hormone or CRF hormone(corticotropin-releasing factor). Corticotropin-releasing hormone is CRH full form. The action of corticotropin-releasing hormone is multifaceted. Its primary function in the body is as the master controller of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which regulates stress hormones. The term corticotropin-releasing hormone comes from the fact that it stimulates the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone. The stress hormone cortisol is generated by adrenocorticotropic hormone, which flows through the bloodstream to the adrenal glands.


CRH Hormone Structure 

The 41-amino-acid peptide corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) is derived from a 196-amino-acid preprohormone. The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus secretes CRH in response to stress. Increased CRH hormone development has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and severe depression, and autosomal recessive hypothalamic corticotropin deficiency has a variety of metabolic effects, including hypoglycemia, that can be fatal.


CRH Hormone Synthesis

CRH is formed by parvocellular neuroendocrine cells in the hypothalamus' paraventricular nucleus and released at the median eminence from neurosecretory terminals of these neurons into the hypothalamohypophyseal portal system's primary capillary plexus. The portal system transports CRH hormone to the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, where it activates corticotrophs to secrete ACTH and other biologically active substances (-endorphin). Cortisol, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and DHEA are all produced in response to ACTH.

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How is a Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Controlled?

Nervous activity in the brain stimulates the release of corticotropin-releasing hormone. In non-stressed situations, it has a normal 24-hour rhythm, with peaks about 8 a.m. and troughs overnight. A traumatic experience, illness, or even exercise may cause corticotropin-releasing hormone to rise above normal daily levels. Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol result from a rise in the corticotropin-releasing hormone, which mobilises the energy resources required to cope with the stressor. Over time, high levels of stress hormones may have harmful effects on the body. Cortisol, as a result, inhibits the release of corticotropin-releasing hormone and shuts down the hypothalamus-pituitary–adrenal axis, resulting in a negative feedback loop.


Leptin, a hormone released by fat tissue, can inhibit some of the effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone in the brain. This may explain why corticotropin-releasing hormone has the ability to suppress appetite.


What Happens if I Have Too Much Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone?

Corticotropin-releasing hormone levels that are abnormally high have been linked to a number of diseases. Too much corticotropin-releasing hormone is suspected of causing nervous disorders such as psychiatric depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and anorexia nervosa since it increases anxiety and suppresses appetite.


Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease are all inflammatory diseases that can be made worse by elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone. This may seem surprising at first because increased corticotropin-releasing hormone levels in the brain may lead to increased glucocorticoid development, and glucocorticoids are anti-inflammatory. However, studies have shown that high levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone in tissues other than the brain may have a strong inflammatory effect. Increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone in the joints, skin, or gut can exacerbate or even cause these inflammatory conditions to develop.


What Happens if I Have Too Little Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone?

According to studies, people with Alzheimer's disease have especially low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone. Some researchers believe that a lack of corticotropin-releasing hormone is to blame for chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, in which sufferers struggle with sleep, memory, and concentration. However, further study into both of these topics is needed before this can be verified.


Low corticotrophin-releasing hormone output by the foetus or the placenta during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.


Importance of CRH Hormone 

Role in Parturition

  • The placenta also produces CRH, which appears to influence the length of pregnancy.

  • CRH levels increase near the end of pregnancy, just before birth, and current theory indicates that it plays three roles in parturition:

  • Increases dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels both directly and indirectly via the foetal adrenal gland and the mother's pituitary gland. DHEA is involved in both the preparation and stimulation of cervical contractions.

  • Increases the availability of prostaglandins in the uteroplacental tissues. Cervical contractions are triggered by prostaglandins.

  • It can play a role in inhibiting contractions prior to parturition by rising cAMP levels in the myometrium.

  • Progesterone, which remains elevated during pregnancy, inhibits trophoblast CRH in culture. Glucocorticoids and catecholamines induce its release, which increases prior to parturition, releasing the progesterone block.

Other Uses

  • Corticotropin-releasing hormones also affect other parts of the brain, suppressing appetite, increasing anxiety, and improving memory and selective attention, among other things. These effects work together to coordinate behaviour in order to improve and fine-tune the body's 

  • reaction to a stressful situation.

  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone is also produced in small amounts by certain white blood cells, where it induces inflammation (swelling or tenderness), especially in the gut.

  • According to research, CRH has no thyrotropic impact in mammals. However, it has been discovered that, in addition to its corticotropic activity, CRH has a potent thyrotropic function, working with TRH to regulate the thyroid axis in non-mammalian vertebrates (TRH has been found to be less potent than CRH in some species).

Did You Know?

In order to produce its effects, the corticotropin-releasing hormone has been shown to interact with its receptors, corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRFR1) and corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 2 (CRFR2). CRF injections into the rodent paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) have been shown to increase CRFR1 expression, which leads to depression-like behaviours. Sex variations have also been discovered in CRF and the receptors with which it interacts.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question: What is the Role of the Corticotropin Hormone?

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), also known as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), is a peptide hormone that causes the pituitary gland to produce and release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). CRH influences our responses to stress, addiction, and depression, among other things.

Question: What is the Source of Corticotropin-releasing Hormone?

The hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which activates the anterior pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The adrenal cortex, which is ACTH's target organ, is then affected.

Question: What Effect Does ACTH Have on the Body?

The adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is a hormone that regulates how your body reacts to stress. The pituitary gland produces ACTH, which activates the synthesis and release of cortisol by the adrenal gland.