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Mimecan encodes a secretory protein that is secreted into the human serum as two mature proteins with molecular masses of 25 and 12 kDa. We found 12-kDa mimecan to be a novel satiety hormone mediated by the upregulation of the expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 in the hypothalamus. Mimecan was found to be expressed in human pituitary corticotroph cells and was up-regulated by glucocorticoids, while the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in pituitary corticotroph AtT-20 cells was induced by mimecan. However, the effects of mimecan in adrenal tissue on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functions remain unknown. We demonstrated that the expression of mimecan in adrenal tissues is significantly downregulated by hypoglycemia and scalded stress. It was down-regulated by ACTH, but upregulated by glucocorticoids through in vivo and in vitro studies. We further found that 12-kDa mimecan fused protein increased the corticosterone secretion of adrenal cells in vivo and in vitro. Interestingly, compared to litter-mate mice, the diurnal rhythm of corticosterone secretion was disrupted under basal conditions, and the response to restraint stress was stronger in mimecan knockout mice. These findings suggest that mimecan stimulates corticosterone secretion in the adrenal tissues under basal conditions; however, the down-regulated expression of mimecan by increased ACTH secretion after stress in adrenal tissues might play a role in maintaining the homeostasis of an organism's responses to stress.


Bin Su, Qian-Yue Zhang, Xue-Song Li, Hui-Min Yu, Ping Li, Jun-Hua Ma, Huang-Ming Cao, Fei Sun, Shuang-Xia Zhao, Cui-Xia Zheng, Ying Ru, Huai-Dong Song. The expression of mimecan in adrenal tissue plays a role in an organism's responses to stress. Aging. 2021 May 10;13(9):13087-13107

PMID: 33971622

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