Effects of stress and corticosterone on activity and plasticity in the amygdala

Alexandra Kavushansky, Gal Richter-Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The basolateral amygdala (BLA) has been repeatedly shown to mediate the effects of stress on memory-related processes. However, the way in which stress influences BLA itself has not been fully explored. We studied the effects of stress and corticosterone (CORT) on activity and plasticity in the BLA in the rat, using the electrophysiological procedure of long-term potentiation (LTP) induction in vivo. Rats were exposed to an acute elevated-platform stress or administered vehicle or 5 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, or 25 mg/kg of CORT systemically, after which they were anesthetized and prepared for field potential recording in the BLA, in response to stimulation of the entorhinal cortex. The elevated platform stress enhanced baseline responses in BLA and plasma CORT but inhibited amygdalar LTP. Systemic injections of CORT enhanced baseline responses in BLA in a dose-dependent manner but did not influence amygdalar LTP. Posttetanic potentiation (PTP) was similarly reduced in CORT- and vehicle-injected groups, possibly because of an additional stress from the injection, thus implying that PTP and LTP in the amygdala differentially react to stress. These results suggest that the increase in amygdalar baseline activity following the exposure to stress may be mediated by the concomitant increase in plasma CORT. However, the suppression of amygdalar LTP is not a result of elevated levels of CORT, suggesting that activity and plasticity in the amygdala might be mediated by different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1580-1587
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2006


  • Amygdala
  • Corticosterone
  • Elevated platform stress
  • LTP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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