Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor in Early Development

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Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) mediates various stress-related responses in adult animals. Little is known about the effects of CRF during early development. Young mammals often vocalize when isolated in novel surroundings. Heightened levels of CRF inhibit vocalizing in isolated rat and guinea pig pups. Still lower levels of CRF may facilitate or permit vocalizing in rat pups. In guinea pigs, CRF appears to move pups from an initial active, to a subsequent passive, stage of behavioral responsiveness. CRF activity prior to birth can also affect the young. Exposing pregnant female rats to stressors during the last trimester of pregnancy alters the morphological and behavioral development of the offspring. Effects of gestational stress can be mimicked by injecting pregnant females with CRF during the last trimester. CRF appears to mediate both short- and long-term responses to stressors during development in rodents.



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