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Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a key regulator of the stress response. This peptide controls the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis as well as a variety of behavioral and autonomic stress responses via the two CRH receptors, CRH-R1 and CRH-R2. The CRH system also includes an evolutionarily conserved CRH-binding protein (CRH-BP), a secreted glycoprotein that binds CRH with subnanomolar affinity to modulate CRH receptor activity. In this review, we discuss the current literature on CRH-BP and stress across multiple species, from insects to humans. We describe the regulation of CRH-BP in response to stress, as well as genetic mouse models that have been utilized to elucidate the in vivo role(s) of CRH-BP in modulating the stress response. Finally, the role of CRH-BP in the human stress response is examined, including single nucleotide polymorphisms in the human CRHBP gene that are associated with stress-related affective disorders and addiction. Lay summary The stress response is controlled by corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), acting via CRH receptors. However, the CRH system also includes a unique CRH-binding protein (CRH-BP) that binds CRH with an affinity greater than the CRH receptors. In this review, we discuss the role of this highly conserved CRH-BP in regulation of the CRH-mediated stress response from invertebrates to humans.


Kyle D Ketchesin, Gwen S Stinnett, Audrey F Seasholtz. Corticotropin-releasing hormone-binding protein and stress: from invertebrates to humans. Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2017 Sep;20(5):449-464

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PMID: 28436309

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