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Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Modulation of Glucocorticoids in the Cardiovascular System

Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(10), 2150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18102150
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 6 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
The collective of endocrine organs acting in homeostatic regulation—known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—comprises an integration of the central nervous system as well as peripheral tissues. These organs respond to imminent or perceived threats that elicit a stress response, primarily culminating in the release of glucocorticoids into the systemic circulation by the adrenal glands. Although the secretion of glucocorticoids serves to protect and maintain homeostasis in the typical operation at baseline levels, inadequate regulation can lead to physiologic and psychologic pathologies. The cardiovascular system is especially susceptible to prolonged dysregulation of the HPA axis and glucocorticoid production. There is debate about whether cardiovascular health risks arise from the direct detrimental effects of stress axis activation or whether pathologies develop secondary to the accompanying metabolic strain of excess glucocorticoids. In this review, we will explore the emerging research that indicates stress does have direct effects on the cardiovascular system via the HPA axis activation, with emphasis on the latest research on the impact of glucocorticoids signaling in the vasculature and the heart. View Full-Text
Keywords: hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; glucocorticoids; glucocorticoid receptor; mineralocorticoid receptor; smooth muscle cells; vascular endothelial cells; cardiomyocytes; heart hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis; glucocorticoids; glucocorticoid receptor; mineralocorticoid receptor; smooth muscle cells; vascular endothelial cells; cardiomyocytes; heart
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Burford, N.G.; Webster, N.A.; Cruz-Topete, D. Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Modulation of Glucocorticoids in the Cardiovascular System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2150.

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