Effects of Various Hormones on the Pituitary-Adrenal Axis

  • Julian I. Kitay
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 54)


Most discussions of the mechanisms concerned with regulation of the pituitary-adrenal axis consider only components intrinsic to the system. Current understanding of the essential factors involved may be summarized briefly as follows. Stimulatory and inhibitory inputs from a variety of sources converge on centers in the basal hypothalamus. These signals result in stimulation (or inhibition) of corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) secretion from the median eminence. CRF is transported via the hypothalami co-hypophyseal portal system to the anterior pituitary gland and stimulates adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion; ACTH in turn, stimulates adrenal corticosteroid secretion. Corticosterone, the principle glucocorticoid hormone in the rat, is bound in plasma to corticosterone binding globulin (CBG); however, a fraction remains unbound in equilibrium with the bound portion. The liver clears circulating corticosteroids and metabolizes them, by reduction and conjugation, to inactive compounds which are excreted.


Reductase Activity Pineal Gland Corticotropin Release Factor Gonadal Hormone Estradiol Replacement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmad, N., Lyons, W. R., and Ellis, S. (1969). Luteotrophic activity of rat hypophysial mammotrophin. Endocrinology 85, 378–380.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apostolakis, M. (1968). Prolactin. Vitam. Horm. 26, 197–235.Google Scholar
  3. Bruchovsky, N. and Wilson, J. D. (1968). The conversion of testosterone to 5 α-androstan-17 β-ol-3-one by rat prostate in vivo and in vitro. J. Biol. Chem. 243, 2012–2021.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Caffrey, J. L. and Kitay, J. I. (1973). Hormonal influences on the expression of adrenal 5 α-reductase. Fed. Proc. 32, 255.Google Scholar
  5. Colby, H. D., Caffrey, J. L., and Kitay, J. I. (1972). Relation of adrenal 5 α-reductase activity to adrenocortical secretion in vivo. Excerpta Med. Found. Int. Congr. Ser., No. 256, 41.Google Scholar
  6. Colby, H. D., Gaskin, J. H., and Kitay, J. I. (1972). Requirement of the pituitary gland for gonadal hormone effects on hepatic corticosteroid metabolism in rats and hamsters. Endocrinology 92, 769–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Colby, H. D. and Kitay, J. I. (1972a). Sex and substrate effects on hepatic corticosteroid metabolism. Endocrinology 90, 473–478.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Colby, H. D. and Kitay, J. I. (1972b). Effects of gonadal hormones on adrenocortical secretion of 5 α-reduced metabolites of corticosterone in the rat. Endocrinology 91, 1523–1527.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coyne, M. D. and Kitay, J. I. (1969). Effect of ovariectomy on pituitary secretion of ACTH. Endocrinology 85, 1097–1102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coyne, M. D. and Kitay, J. I. (1971). Effect of orchiectomy on pituitary secretion of ACTH. Endocrinology 89, 1024–1028.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gala, R. R. and Westphal, U. (1965). Corticosteroid-binding globulin in the rat. Studies on the sex difference. Endocrinology 77, 841–851.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kitay, J. I. (1963). Pituitary-adrenal function in the rat after gona-dectomy and gonadal hormone replacement. Endocrinology 73, 253–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kitay, J. I., Coyne, M. D., Nelson, R., and Newsom, W. (1966). Relation of the testes to adrenal enzyme activity and adrenal corticosterone production in the rat. Endocrinology 78, 1061–1066.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kitay, J. I., Coyne, M. D., Newsom, W., and Nelson, R. (1965). Relation of the ovary to adrenal corticosterone production and adrenal enzyme activity in the rat. Endocrinology 77, 902–908.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kitay, J. I., Coyne, M. D., and Swygert, N. (1970). Influence of gonadectomy and replacement with estradiol or testosterone on formation of 5 α-reduced metabolites of corticosterone by the adrenal gland of the rat. Endocrinology 87, 1257–1265.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kitay, J. I., Coyne, M. D., and Swygert, N. (1971). Effects of hypophysectomy and administration of cortisone or ACTH on adrenal 5 α-reductase activity and steroid production. Endocrinology 89, 432–438.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kitay, J. I., Coyne, M. D., Swygert, N., and Gaines, K. E. (1971). Effects of gonadal hormones and ACTH on the nature and rates of secretion of adrenocortical steroids by the rat. Endocrinology 89, 565–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kumaresan, P., Anderson, R. R., and Turner, C. W. (1966). Effect of graded levels of lactogenic hormone upon mammary gland growth and lactation in rats. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 123, 581–584.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Murphy, B. E. P. (1967). Some studies of the protein-binding of steroids and their application to the routine micro and ultramicro measurement of various steroids in body fluids by competitive proteinbinding radioassay. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 27, 973–990.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ogle, T. F. and Kitay, J. I. (1974). Pineal effects on adrenal steroidogenesis. Fed. Proc. 33, 287.Google Scholar
  21. Witorsch, R. J. and Kitay, J. I. (1972a). Influence of the ovary, pituitary and age on adrenal 5 α-reductase activity in the rat. Endocrinology 90, 1374–1379.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Witorsch, R. J. and Kitay, J. I. (1972b). Pituitary hormones affecting adrenal 5 a-reductase activity: ACTH, growth hormone, and prolactin. Endocrinology 91, 764–769.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Discussion References

  1. Halberg, F. and Haus, E. (1960). Am. J. Physiol. 199, 859–862.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian I. Kitay
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Departments of Internal Medicine and Physiology, School of MedicineUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations