Urocortin - From Parkinson's disease to the skeleton

  • Lawrence K
  • Jackson T
  • Jamieson D
 et al. 
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Urocortin (Ucn 1), a 40 amino acid long peptide related to corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) was discovered 19 years ago, based on its sequence homology to the parent molecule. Its existence was inferred in the CNS because of anatomical and pharmacological discrepancies between CRF and its two receptor subtypes. Although originally found in the brain, where it has opposing actions to CRF and therefore confers stress-coping mechanisms, Ucn 1 has subsequently been found throughout the periphery including heart, lung, skin, and immune cells. It is now well established that this small peptide is involved in a multitude of physiological and pathophysiological processes, due to its receptor subtype distribution and promiscuity in second messenger signalling pathways. As a result of extensive studies in this field, there are now well over one thousand peer reviewed publications involving Ucn 1. In this review, we intend to highlight some of the less well known actions of Ucn 1 and in particular its role in neuronal cell protection and maintenance of the skeletal system, both by conventional methods of reviewing the literature and using bioinformatics, to highlight further associations between Ucn 1 and disease conditions. Understanding how Ucn 1 works in these tissues, will help to unravel its role in normal and pathophysiological processes. This would ultimately allow the generation of putative medical interventions for the alleviation of important diseases such as Parkinson's disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Urocortin

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