Mindfulness: Your Ticket to Emotional Well-being. Physiology of Stress.
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The stress system has two modes of operation. The fast mode involves the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-driven sympathetic and behavioural \'fight–flight\' response, which is mediated by the CRH1 receptor (CRHR1). CRHR1 also activates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis involves CRH and vasopressin (AVP), which are produced in the parvocellular neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN); these neurons secrete the peptides into the portal vessel system to activate the synthesis of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the anterior pituitary, which is processed to corticotropin (ACTH), opioid and melanocortin peptides, among others. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol (in humans) and corticosterone (in humans, rats and mice). Several afferent pathways activate the CRH neurons in the PVN; these include limbic pathways that are activated by psychological stressors, and ascending brain-stem pathways that convey visceral and sensory stimuli.
Boly et al (2008) Human Brain Mapping. 29:868-874
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