Pituitary and adrenocortical responses to corticotropin-releasing factor in pigs

Shu-Hua Zhang From the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Victoria, Veterinary Research Institute, Attwood, 475–485 Mickleham Road, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia (Hennessy), and the School of Agriculture, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia (Zhang, Cranwell).

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 B Agr Sci
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David P. Hennessy From the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Victoria, Veterinary Research Institute, Attwood, 475–485 Mickleham Road, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia (Hennessy), and the School of Agriculture, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia (Zhang, Cranwell).

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Peter D. Cranwell From the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Victoria, Veterinary Research Institute, Attwood, 475–485 Mickleham Road, Attwood, Victoria 3049, Australia (Hennessy), and the School of Agriculture, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia (Zhang, Cranwell).

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SUMMARY

A study was conducted to determine whether differences in adrenocortical response to exogenous adrenocorticotropin (acth) were an accurate reflection of an animal's perception of and response to stressful stimuli, or whether the pituitary gland might modulate adrenocortical responsiveness. Sixteen Large White × Landrace female pigs, of which 8 had high adrenocortical response to acth and the other 8 had low response, were administered iv a bolus of synthetic human corticotropin-releasing factor (hcrf) at dose rates ranging from 0.002 to 2 μg/kg of body weight. Blood samples were collected at known times for up to 2 hours after administration of hcrf. Plasma acth and cortisol concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. Results indicate that hcrf stimulated the pituitary gland of high- and low-responding pigs to secrete acth, which in turn stimulated the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol. Plasma acth concentration, before or after hcrf administration, was not significantly different between the high and low responders. However, high-responding pigs had higher cortisol concentration after hcrf administration than did low-responding pigs. Thus, the differences in adrenocortical response to acth between the 2 groups of pigs were not attenuated by variation in pituitary response. It is concluded that adrenocortical responsiveness to acth is an accurate indicator of the perception of and the response to stress.

SUMMARY

A study was conducted to determine whether differences in adrenocortical response to exogenous adrenocorticotropin (acth) were an accurate reflection of an animal's perception of and response to stressful stimuli, or whether the pituitary gland might modulate adrenocortical responsiveness. Sixteen Large White × Landrace female pigs, of which 8 had high adrenocortical response to acth and the other 8 had low response, were administered iv a bolus of synthetic human corticotropin-releasing factor (hcrf) at dose rates ranging from 0.002 to 2 μg/kg of body weight. Blood samples were collected at known times for up to 2 hours after administration of hcrf. Plasma acth and cortisol concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. Results indicate that hcrf stimulated the pituitary gland of high- and low-responding pigs to secrete acth, which in turn stimulated the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol. Plasma acth concentration, before or after hcrf administration, was not significantly different between the high and low responders. However, high-responding pigs had higher cortisol concentration after hcrf administration than did low-responding pigs. Thus, the differences in adrenocortical response to acth between the 2 groups of pigs were not attenuated by variation in pituitary response. It is concluded that adrenocortical responsiveness to acth is an accurate indicator of the perception of and the response to stress.

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