Contrasting roles of corticosteroid receptors in hippocampal plasticity

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Elevated levels of corticosteroid hormones, presumably occupying both mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), have been reported to impair synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus as well as the acquisition of hippocampus-dependent memories. In contrast, recent evidence suggests that activation of MRs enhance cognitive functions. To clarify the roles of different steroid receptors in hippocampal plasticity, young adult rats were injected with the GR antagonist RU38486 (mifepristone) or the MR antagonist Spironolactone before the exposure to an acute swim stress. Hippocampal responses to perforant path stimulation were then recorded in anesthetized rats. Stress combined with RU38486 produced a striking facilitation of LTP. Spironolactone enabled only short-term potentiation that reversed to long-term depression (LTD) in the stressed animals. Finally, the blockade of both MRs and GRs led to impairment of long-term potentiation. These findings indicate that MRs and GRs assume opposite roles in regulation of synaptic plasticity after acute exposure to stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9130-9134
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number36
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2006


  • Acute swim stress
  • DG hippocampus
  • Glucocorticoid receptor
  • LTP
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor
  • Neural plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


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