Cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART) and the stress response

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Abstract

CART is expressed abundantly in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and locus coeruleus, major corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and noradrenaline sources, respectively. There is a bidirectional relation between CART and hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal axis activity. CART stimulates CRF, adrenocorticotropic hormone and glucocorticoid secretion, whereas CRF and glucocorticoids increase the transcriptional activity of the CART gene; adrenalectomy declines CART expression in the hypothalamus. Stress exposure modulates CART expression in hypothalamus and amygdala in rat brain in a region and sex specific manner. CART may be a mediator peptide in the interaction between stress, drug abuse, and feeding. The review discusses the established role of CART as it relates to the stress response.

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