CART is expressed abundantly in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and locus coeruleus, major corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) and noradrenaline sources, respectively. There is a bidirectional relation between CART and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. CART stimulates CRF, adrenocorticotropic hormone and glucocorticoid secretion, whereas CRF and glucocorticoids increase the transcriptional activity of the CART gene; adrenalectomy declines CART expression in the hypothalamus. Stress exposure modulates CART expression in hypothalamus and amygdala in rat brain in a region and sex specific manner. CART may be a mediator peptide in the interaction between stress, drug abuse, and feeding. The review discusses the established role of CART as it relates to the stress response. (c) 2006 Published by Elsevier Inc.