Prolonged stress alters the PC1/PC2 ratio in the rat lateral hypothalamus, implicating impaired orexin maturation

Document Type : Original Article


School of Biology, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran



Objective(s): Stress elicits physiological and neuroendocrine responses mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and lateral hypothalamus (LH). However, prolonged stress can dysregulate neuropeptide systems like orexin. This study investigated the effects of temporary and prolonged stress on HPA activity and orexin processing in the rat LH. 
Materials and Methods: Male Wistar rats were exposed to various stress repetitions. The stress paradigm is defined as short (acute; 1 day and mild; 3 days) and long (sub-chronic; 10 days and chronic; 21 days)-term 6 hr daily restraint stress. Plasma corticosterone (CORT) served as an index of HPA function. Expression of prepro-orexin and its processing enzymes prohormone convertases (PC) 1 and 2 was measured in LH tissues using semiquantitative RT-PCR. 
Results: The plasma level of CORT was elevated following mild, sub-chronic, and chronic, but not acute stress versus unstressed controls. The expression of prepro-orexin was heightened following all stress exposures. However, PC1 increased and PC2 decreased only after prolonged stress. The PC1/PC2 ratio was also selectively augmented with sub-chronic and chronic stress, implying impaired orexin maturation.
Conclusion: Together, these data demonstrate that the HPA axis and lateral hypothalamic orexin system respond to stress based on stress repetition. Changes in orexin processing enzyme mRNA, exclusively after chronic stress, imply potential effects on peptide maturation, requiring confirmation of the orexin production at the protein level.


Main Subjects

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