Molecular genetic analysis of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid signaling in development and physiological processes

Stefan A. Berger, Timothy J. Cole, Wolfgang Schmid, Günther Schütz

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To understand the role of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid signalling during development and in whole animal physiology, we have disrupted the mouse glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor gene by gene targeting. Most of the mice with a disrupted glucocorticoid receptor gene die within the first hours after birth due to severe lung atelectasis. Perinatal induction of gluconeogenic enzymes in the liver is impaired. Regulation of the glucocorticoid synthesis via the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is perturbed, leading to increased plasma levels of corticosterone and adrenocorticotrophic hormone. Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis results in extensive hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the cortical zones of the adrenal and induction of genes involved in steroid biosynthesis. The adrenal medulla is disorganized and severly reduced in size; no cells capable of adrenaline synthesis can be detected. Mineralocorticoid receptor deficient mice die mainly at day 9/10 after birth. Weightloss precedes death of homozygous mutant mice and is correlated with an increase in the haematocrit. As a consequence of this mutation, plasma levels of renin and aldosterone are highly elevated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-239
Number of pages4
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • gene targeting
  • glucocorticoid receptor
  • mineralocorticoid receptor

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