Stress-protective effect of the synthetic ACTH-like peptide leucocorticotropin

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We found that the tritium-labeled synthetic ACTH-like octapeptide leucocorticotropin corresponding to the 81-88 sequence of the precursor of human interleukin-1α ([3H]GK VLKKRR) is bound by the ACTH receptor of rat adrenal cortex with a high affinity and specificity (Kd 2.2 ± 0.1 nM). This peptide was shown to exert no effect on the adenylate cyclase activity of the membranes of rat adrenal cortex in the concentration range from 1 to 1000 nM. Leucocorticotropin administration three times at doses of 10-20 μg/animal did not change the level of hydroxycorticosteroids (11-HOCS) in the rat adrenal glands in the absence of temperature action. At the same time, the peptide abolishes (at a dose of 20 μg/animal, three times) or significantly decreases (at a dose of 10 μg/animal, three times) the dramatic increase in the 11-HOCS content in the adrenal glands occurring in the case of cold or heat shock. Thus, leucocorticotropin normalizes the 11-HOCS level in the rat adrenal cortex during stress. The stress-protective effect of the peptide is mediated through the ACTH receptor.

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