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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Dec;5(12):917-30.

Stress, cognitive impairment and cell adhesion molecules.

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  • 1Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Brain Mind Institute, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Stress has profound effects on brain structure and function, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. Recent studies imply that neuronal cell adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily--NCAM and L1--are important mediators of the effects of stress on the brain. Chronic stress regimes that lead to hippocampal atrophy and spatial-learning impairment in rodents simultaneously induce a pattern of changes in cell adhesion molecule expression that fits with a role for these molecules in stress-induced neuronal damage and neuroprotective mechanisms. These findings highlight cell adhesion molecules as potential therapeutic targets to treat stress-related cognitive disturbances.

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