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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2012, Article ID 198628, 5 pages
Review Article

Clinical Perspectives of Urocortin and Related Agents for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of DNA Medicine, Research Center for Medical Sciences, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan
2Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo 105-8461, Japan

Received 21 November 2011; Revised 7 February 2012; Accepted 7 February 2012

Academic Editor: Kazunori Kageyama

Copyright © 2012 Keiichi Ikeda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone, also known as corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), on the cardiovascular system have been intensively researched since its discovery. Moreover, the actions of urocortin (Ucn) I on the cardiovascular system have also been intensively scrutinized following the cloning and identification of its receptor, CRF receptor type 2 (CRFR2), in peripheral tissues including the heart. Given the cardioprotective actions of CRFR2 ligands, the clinical potential of not only Ucn I but also Ucn II and III, which were later identified as more specific ligands for CRFR2, has received considerable attention from researchers. In addition, recent work has indicated that CRF type 1 receptor may be also involved in cardioprotection against ischemic/reperfusion injury. Here we provide a historical overview of research on Ucn I and related agents, their effects on the cardiovascular system, and the clinical potential of the use of such agents to treat cardiovascular diseases.