Glucocorticoid pulsatility and rapid corticosteroid actions in the central stress response

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Physiol Behav, Volume 106, Number 1, p.73-80 (2012)


1873-507X (Electronic)00

DOI Name (links to online publication)



Glucocorticoid hormones are secreted from the adrenal gland in hourly pulses, on top of which a surge can take place after stress. The current review describes how changes in pulse amplitude and frequency have consequences for the transcriptional responsivity of target tissues to stress-induced rises in glucocorticoids, and also how these altered pulse patterns affect neuroendocrine and behavioural responses. The mechanistic underpinning of these often rapid changes of the effects of pulsatility on stress responsivity has been greatly advanced with the discovery of membrane variants of the nuclear mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors. The new findings qualify glucocorticoid pulsatility and rapid non-genomic actions as important determinants of the allostatic state.