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Nuclear Receptors as Regulators of Pituitary Corticotroph Pro-Opiomelanocortin Transcription


The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis plays a critical role in adaptive stress responses and maintaining organism homeostasis. The pituitary corticotroph is the central player in the HPA axis and is regulated by a plethora of hormonal and stress related factors that synergistically interact to activate and temper pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) transcription, to either increase or decrease adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) production and secretion as needed. Nuclear receptors are a family of highly conserved transcription factors that can also be induced by various physiologic signals, and they mediate their responses via multiple targets to regulate metabolism and homeostasis. In this review, we summarize the modulatory roles of nuclear receptors on pituitary corticotroph cell POMC transcription, describe the unique and complex role these factors play in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) regulation and discuss potential therapeutic targets in disease states.

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