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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Nov;94(5):3479-86. Epub 2005 Jul 20.

Corticosterone slowly enhances miniature excitatory postsynaptic current amplitude in mice CA1 hippocampal cells.

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Center for Neuroscience, Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 320, 1098 SM Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Corticosteroid hormones are released in high amounts after stress and bind to intracellular receptors in the brain, which in activated form function as transcription factors. We here tested the effect of a high dose of corticosterone on AMPA-receptor-mediated transmission in the CA1 hippocampal area, which is enriched in corticosteroid receptors. To focus on slow gene-mediated effects of the hormone, excitatory postsynaptic currents were measured at least 1 h after a brief application of 100 nM corticosterone to slices from adrenally intact adult mice. The amplitude but not frequency of miniature postsynaptic excitatory currents was found to be significantly enhanced. These effects were mimicked by 100 nM RU 28362, a selective agonist for intracellular glucocorticoid receptors. Evoked AMPA responses at the single cell were significantly enhanced when measured 2-4 h after application of 100 nM corticosterone, but not at earlier moments nor with a longer delay. In summary, the present results show that activation of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors induces a slow enhancement of AMPA-receptor-mediated responses, at the single-cell level.

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