Glucocorticoid regulation of enkephalins in cultured rat adrenal medulla

Charles E. Inturrisi, Andrea D. Branch, Hugh D. Robertson, Richard D. Howells, Steven O. Franklin, Joan R. Shapiro, Steven E. Calvano, Byron C. Yoburn

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65 Scopus citations


The effect of dexamethasone on enkephalin-containing (EC) peptide levels and preproenkephalin mRNA levels was determined in adrenal medullary explants (glands) from sham and hypophysectomized (hypox) rats. Culture for 4 days in serum-free medium without dexamethasone resulted in a 13-and 4-fold increase in EC peptide levels in sham and hypox glands, respectively. The addition of dexamethasone (10-5 m) produced a 20- to 26-fold increase in EC peptides in sham and hypox glands. In serum free medium, hypox glands showed a concentration dependent increase in EC peptides with the ED50 for dexamethasone equal to 5.7 × 10-7 m. Since the glucocorticoid antagonist RU486 partially blocked the rise in EC peptides in sham glands, it appears that the increase in EC peptides in sham glands in the absence of dexamethasone is a result of a higher concentration of endogenous corticosterone in sham compared to hypox glands. Dexamethasone resulted in a 6-fold increase in preproenkephalin mRNA in hypox glands cultured for 2 days. This increase was approximately proportional to the increase in EC peptides seen at 4 days. In serum free medium progesterone, testosterone, and deoxycorticosterone failed to increase EC peptides in hypox glands. These results indicate that glucocorticoid treatment is required for maximal proenkephalin gene expression and EC peptide biosynthesis in cultured glands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes


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