• Journal Article

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster): Evidence for target tissue glucocorticoid resistance

Citation

Taymans, S. E., DeVries, A. C., DeVries, M. B., Nelson, R. J., Friedman, T. C., Castro, M., ... Chrousos, G. P. (1997). The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster): Evidence for target tissue glucocorticoid resistance. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 106(1), 48-61. DOI: 10.1006/gcen.1996.6849

Abstract

Basal plasma corticosterone levels in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are extremely high, in the absence of any apparent negative consequences of glucocorticoid excess. We tested the hypothesis that prairie voles are a novel rodent model of target tissue resistance to glucocorticoids. Prairie voles had a significantly higher adrenal-to-body weight ratio, 5- to 10-fold greater basal plasma corticosterone, and 2- to 3-fold greater basal plasma ACTH concentrations than montane voles (Microtus montanus) and rats. While plasma corticosterone binding globulin (CBG) was 2-fold higher in prairie voles than in rats, both estimated and directly measured plasma free corticosterone were significantly higher in prairie voles than in rats. Plasma corticosterone levels in prairie voles were responsive to both circadian cues and a stressor, but were resistant to suppression by the synthetic glucocorticoid, dexamethasone (DEX). Western blots of brain and liver protein extracts, using a glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antibody, revealed the presence of a similar to 97 kDa immunoreactive band, the expected size for GR. Binding assays revealed significantly lower DEX affinity of corticosteroid receptors (CR) in cytosol of prairie vole brain and liver than that in the same tissues in rats. We conclude that prairie voles are a novel rodent model of glucocorticoid resistance, and that decreased affinity of CR for ligand might be partially responsible for this phenomenon. (C) 1997 Academic Press