Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Endocrinol. 2008 Mar;22(3):546-58. Epub 2007 Dec 20.

Glucocorticoid prevents brain-derived neurotrophic factor-mediated maturation of synaptic function in developing hippocampal neurons through reduction in the activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase.

Author information

Department of Mental Disorder Research, National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, 4-1-1, Ogawa-Higashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan.


An increased level of glucocorticoid may be related to the pathophysiology of depressive disorder. The involvement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the antidepressive effect has also been suggested; however, the possible influence of glucocorticoid on the action of BDNF in the developing central nervous system has not been elucidated. In this study, we investigated the effect of glucocorticoid (dexamethasone, DEX) on synaptic maturation and function enhanced by BDNF in early developing hippocampal neurons. In the immature stage, BDNF increased the outgrowth of dendrites and the expression of synaptic proteins including glutamate receptors and presynaptic proteins. Pretreatment with DEX significantly inhibited the BDNF-dependent up-regulation of both dendritic outgrowth and synaptic proteins. In the more mature stage, the BDNF-reinforced postsynaptic Ca(2+) influx was decreased by DEX. BDNF-enhanced presynaptic glutamate release was also suppressed. RU486, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist, canceled the DEX-dependent blocking effect on the action of BDNF. After down-regulation of glucocorticoid receptor by small interfering RNA application, no inhibitory effect of DEX on the BDNF-increased synaptic proteins was observed. Interestingly, the BDNF-activated MAPK/ERK pathway, which is an essential intracellular signaling pathway for the BDNF-increased synaptic proteins, was reduced by DEX. These results suggest that BDNF-mediated synaptic maturation is disturbed after neurons are exposed to high-level glucocorticoid in their development stage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center