Sex differences in adrenocortical structure and function. XXVII. The effect of ether stress on ACTH and corticosterone in intact, gonadectomized, and testosterone- or estradiol-replaced rats
Studies were performed on the reactivity of the hypothalamopituitary-adrenocortical axis of intact, gonadectomized, and testosterone- or estradiol-replaced rats to standard ether stress. Plasma ACTH and corticosterone (B) levels, anterior pituitary ACTH, and adrenal B content were estimated 20 and 40 min after stress application and in unstressed animals. Ether stress resulted in an increase in plasma ACTH and B levels and in adrenal B content while pituitary ACTH content was notably lower when compared with unstressed rats. The response was markedly higher in female than in male rats. After orchiectomy and testosterone replacement, plasma ACTH and B responses to ether stress were similar to those observed in intact male rats. On the other hand, ovariectomized females responded to ether stress like intact males, while after estradiol replacement the pattern of plasma ACTH and B concentration and adrenal B content was similar to that in intact female rats.
Thus, the higher responsiveness of the pituitary-adrenal cortex axis of female rats to ether stress depends on stimulatory or facilitatory effect of estradiol.
Key wordsACTH Corticosterone Ether stress Sex differences Rats
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