International Journal of Comparative Psychology
Molecular Genetic Approaches to the Neuropharmacology of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor
- Author(s): Koob, George F.
- Bartfai, Tamas
- Roberts, Amanda J.
- et al.
This article describes the integration of neurobiological and molecular genetic approaches in the study of the function of the neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). CRF is a particularly relevant subject for targeted genetic mutation because of its hypothesized critical role in hormonal and behavioral responses to stressors, its potential role in psychopathology, and the limited neuropharmacological agents available to increase or decrease function in this system. We review the strategy of targeted genetic mutation in neuropharmacology using research directed at understanding the function of CRF and related neuropeptides through molecular genetic manipulation of the levels of the endogenous agonist, its different receptors, and the binding protein. Genetically engineered approaches to functional analysis cross-validate experiments to promote the neurobiological elucidation of complex systems and provide critical information about constituent differences that contribute to individual differences in brain function.