Orexins (hypocretins) and adrenal function

O. Jöhren*, N. Brüggemann, P. Dominiak

*Corresponding author for this work
25 Citations (Scopus)


The recently discovered neuropeptides orexin A and B regulate feeding behavior, neuroendocrine and autonomic functions, and sleep-wakefulness by central mechanisms. The expression of orexins and orexin receptors in various peripheral organs and the presence of orexin A in blood indicate the existence of a peripheral orexin system. In rat and human adrenal glands, both OX 1 and OX2 receptor subtypes have been described with a predominant expression of OX2 receptors in the adrenal cortex. In male rats, adrenocortical OX2 receptors are much higher expressed than in female rats. Various experimental data demonstrate a stimulatory effect of orexins on the secretion of adrenocortical steroids, mainly on glucocorticoids. Some results also suggest the regulation of catecholamine synthesis and release by orexins. Whether the gender-dependent expression of adrenocortical OX2 receptors has functional correlates awaits future clarification. As plasma orexin appears to rise during hunger and hypoglycemia, orexins may link adrenal functions with energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2004


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