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Trends Neurosci. 2008 Jan;31(1):1-7. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

The coming out of the brain mineralocorticoid receptor.

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  • 1SILS-CNS, University of Amsterdam, 1098 SM Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Corticosteroids - secreted after stress - have profound effects on brain and behavior. These effects are mediated by mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors, which are abundantly expressed in limbic neurons. The role of mineralocorticoid receptors in higher brain functions has never been well understood. Here we argue that the recently discovered low-affinity membrane version of the mineralocorticoid receptor contributes to the initial phase of the stress reaction; this is complemented by the glucocorticoid receptor which terminates the stress response. This concept may explain why human carriers of a mineralocorticoid receptor gene variant display enhanced neuroendocrine and autonomic responsiveness to a psychological stressor.

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