Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 9
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825260

Modulation of sympathetic activity by corticotropin-releasing hormone and atrial natriuretic peptide

J Arlt 1, H Jahn 1, K Wiedemann 1
  • 1Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Heart rate variability (HRV) represents a reliable marker to delineate the status of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function and alterations due to stress in vivo. Interestingly, up to now the ANS-effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), a key regulator of the stress hormone system, are not sufficiently described. Hence, we attempted to investigate the ANS-effects of a CRH bolus and the modulatory influences of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), one of the most important functional antagonists of CRH actions.

Based upon HRV analysis the CRH administration induced sympathotonic effects which were antagonized by ANP. The observed vagal changes were less pronounced and need further investigation. Further studies of autonomic effects by alterations of CRH secretion in psychiatric disorders are strongly warranted.