Urocortins and their unfolding role in mammalian social behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system is well known for its major role in coordinating the endocrine, autonomic and behavioral responses to stress. These functions have been shown to be mediated mainly by the binding of the CRF neuropeptide to its specific receptor CRFR1. Yet, the CRF system comprises several more neuropeptides, including the three urocortins, UCN1, UCN2 and UCN3, of which the latter two bind specifically to a distinct receptor—CRFR2. Unlike the brain-wide abundant expression of CRF and CRFR1, the brain expression of the urocortins and CRFR2 is rather restricted and seems to be focused in limbic areas associated with social behavior. Here, we will review accumulating evidence from recent studies that unfold the role of UCN2 and UCN3 in regulating mammalian social behavior, via activation of CRFR2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • CRF system
  • CRFR2
  • Medial amygdala
  • Social behavior
  • Urocortins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology


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