Intest Res.  2014 Apr;12(2):96-102. 10.5217/ir.2014.12.2.96.

Corticotropin-releasing Hormone and Its Biological Diversity toward Angiogenesis

  • 1Department of Pharmacy, Pusan National University College of Pharmacy, Busan, Korea.


Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from existing ones and an underlying cause of numerous human diseases, including cancer and inflammation. A large body of evidence indicates that angiogenic inhibitors have therapeutic potential in the treatment of vascular diseases. However, detrimental side effects and low efficacy hinder their use in clinical practice. Members of the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) family, which comprises CRH, urocortin I-III, and CRH receptors (CRHR) 1 and 2, are broadly expressed in the brain and peripheral tissues, including the intestine and cardiovascular system. The CRH family regulates stress-related responses through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Therapeutic agents that target CRH family members offer a new approach to the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and colorectal cancer. Since the discovery that CRHR 2 has anti-angiogenic activity during postnatal development in mice, studies have focused on the role of the CRH system in the modulation of blood vessel formation and cardiovascular function. This review will outline the basic biological functions of the CRH family members and the implications for the development of novel anti-angiogenic therapies.


Corticotropin-releasing hormone; Angiogenesis; Urocortins
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