Activation of CRF2 receptor increases gastric vagal afferent mechanosensitivity

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Gastric vagal afferent (GVA) sensing of food-related mechanical stimuli is a crucial mechanism in the control of feeding behavior and gastric function. Stress is an important factor contributing to eating disorders and gastric diseases. Chronic stress has been shown to increase the mechanosensitivity of GVAs in mice and to reduce food intake and body weight. Whether the mechanosensitivity of GVAs is modulated by stress hormones is not known. This study aimed to determine the effect of stress hormones on GVA mechanosensitivity. The expression of stress hormone receptors in GVA cell bodies was determined in 8-wk-old male C57BL/6 mice using quantitative RT-PCR combined with laser capture microdissection. The mechanosensitivity of GVAs was determined in the absence and presence of stress hormones using an in vitro single-fiber recording preparation. NR3C1 and CRHR2 (mRNA isoforms of glucocorticoid receptor and CRF2 receptor, respectively) were expressed in GVA neurons. The glucocorticoid receptor agonist corticosterone had no effect on the mechanosensitivity of either tension or mucosal GVAs. Activation of CRF2 receptor by its specific analog, urocortin 3, significantly increased the mechanosensitivity of both tension and mucosal GVAs, an effect prevented by the CRF2 receptor antagonist astressin 2B. In conclusion, activation of CRF2 receptor increases the mechanosensitivity of GVAs. This may contribute to the stress- and CRF2 receptor-associated changes in feeding behavior and gastric function, possibly contributing to the hypersensitivity of GVAs in chronic stress conditions. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Gastric vagal afferents (GVAs) relay food-related signals to the central nervous system, where they are processed, eventually leading to modulation of food intake and gastric function. GVA signaling can be modulated by an array of hormones. Stress has been shown to induce GVA hypersensitivity. This study demonstrates that GVA neurons express subtypes of stress hormone receptors, specifically CRF2. Furthermore, activation of CRF2 receptor increases GVA mechanosensitivity, which could have implications for food intake and gastric function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2636-2642
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2019


  • CRF2 receptor
  • Gastric vagal afferents
  • Stomach
  • Stress
  • Urocortin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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