Background: Estrogen-related receptors (ERRs) are orphan nuclear hormone receptors expressed in metabolically active tissues and modulate numerous homeostatic processes. ERRs do not bind the ligand estrogen, but they are able to bind the estrogen response element (ERE) embedded within the ERR response elements (ERREs) to regulate transcription of genes. Previous work has demonstrated that adult mice lacking Errβ have altered metabolism and meal patterns. To further understand the biological role of Errβ, we characterized the stress response of mice deficient for one or both alleles of Errβ. Results: Sox2-Cre:Errβ mice lack Errβ expression in all tissues of the developing embryo. Sox2-Cre:Errβ +/lox heterozygotes were obese, had increased Npy and Agrp gene expression in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, and secreted more corticosterone in response to stress. In contrast, Sox2-Cre:Errβ lox/lox homozygotes were lean and, despite increased Npy and Agrp gene expression, did not secrete more corticosterone in response to stress. Sox2-Cre:Errβ +/lox and Sox2-Cre:Errβ lox/lox mice treated with the Errβ and Errγ agonist DY131 demonstrated increased corticotropin-releasing hormone (Crh) expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, although corticosterone levels were not affected. Nes-Cre:Errβ lox/lox mice, which selectively lack Errβ expression in the nervous system, also demonstrated elevated stress response during an acoustic startle response test and decreased expression of both Crh and corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor 2 (Crhr2). Conclusions: Loss of Errβ affects body composition, neuropeptide levels, stress hormones, and centrally-modulated startle responses of mice. These results indicate that Errβ alters the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis and indicates a role for Errβ in regulating stress response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)