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S. Tsagarakis, L. H. Rees, G. M. Besser, and A. Grossman


We have employed an acute explant system of the rat hypothalamus in vitro, as previously described, to examine the role of calcium and calmodulin in the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone-41 (CRH-41). Release of CRH-41, as determined by radioimmunoassay, was stimulated in a dose-dependent manner by the membrane-depolarizing agents KCl and veratridine. Stimulation was also observed with the calcium ionophore A23187. The calcium channel blocker verapamil (1–100 μmol/l) inhibited both KCl-and veratridine-induced release in a dose-dependent manner (maximum inhibition of 75% and 60% respectively), thus providing further evidence that calcium entry is required for secretion of CRH-41 following membrane depolarization. Trifluoperazine (1–100 μmol/1), an inhibitor of calmodulin—calcium interaction, decreased both KCl- and veratridine-evoked CRH-41 secretion in a dose-dependent fashion (maximum inhibition of 50% and 30% respectively). Similarly, phenytoin, a calmodulin-dependent kinase inhibitor, in the concentration range of 1–100 μmol/1, also decreased depolarization-induced CRH-41 release in a dose-dependent manner. The basal release of CRH-41 was unaffected by either treatment. Finally, both calmodulin inhibitors (10 μmol/l) decreased CRH-41 release induced by the calcium ionophore A23187 (10 μmol/l).

These data provide evidence for the role of calcium in membrane depolarization-induced stimulus-secretion coupling of rat hypothalamic CRH-41. Furthermore, inhibition of the stimulatory responses by two separate classes of calmodulin inhibitors suggests a role for calmodulin, at least in part, in this process.