Administration of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) or exposure to stressors inhibits feeding in anuran amphibians. Since most amphibians rely on visual cues for feeding, these findings have led to the hypothesis that CRF may modulate visuomotor pathways involved in prey detection and predator avoidance. The inhibitory effects of CRF on feeding and prey capture are rapid, and do not appear to require the pituitary-adrenal axis in the short term. CRF neurons are located in key visuomotor processing areas of the anuran brain. Corticotropin-releasing factor also has potent stimulatory effects on sympathetic nervous system activity, a key regulatory system involved in both prey capture and predator avoidance. In this review I will discuss the unique model that amphibian species provide for investigating CRF effects on visual perception and visuomotor processing, and will summarize the data suggesting a role for CRF in visuomotor behavior and autonomic function in amphibians.
- Corticotropin-releasing factor
- Optic tectum