Studies in mammalian skin have shown expression of the genes for corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and the related urocortin peptide, with subsequent production of the respective peptides. Recent molecular and biochemical analyses have further revealed the presence of CRH receptors (CRHRs). These CRH-RS are functional, responding to CRH and urocortin peptides (exogenous or produced locally) through activation of receptor(s)-mediated pathways to modify skin cell phenotype. Thus, when taken together with the previous findings of cutaneous expression of POMC and its receptors, these observations extend the range of regulatory elements of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis expressed in mammallian skin. Overall, the cutaneous CRH/POMC expression is highly reactive to common stressors such as immune cytokines, ultraviolet radiation, cutaneous pathology, or even the physiological changes associated with the hair cycle phase. Therefore, similar to its central analog, the local expression and action of CRH/POMC elements appear to be highly organized and entrained, representing general mechanism of cutaneous response to stressful stimuli. In such a CRH/ POMC system, the CRH-RS may be a central element.-Slominski, A., Wortsman, J., Pisarchik, A., Zbytek, B., Linton, E. A., Mazurkiewicz, J., Wei, E. T. Cutaneous expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), urocortin, and CRH receptors.