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Horm Behav. 2015 Nov;76:118-24. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2015.03.003. Epub 2015 Mar 25.

The influence of stress and gonadal hormones on neuronal structure and function.

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Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, USA.
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, USA. Electronic address:


This article is part of a Special Issue "SBN 2014". The brain is highly plastic, allowing us to adapt and respond to environmental and physiological challenges and experiences. In this review, we discuss the relationships among alterations in dendritic arborization, spine morphology, and behavior due to stress exposure, endogenous hormone fluctuation, or exogenous hormonal manipulation. Very few studies investigate structure-function associations directly in the same cohort of animals, and there are notable inconsistencies in evidence of structure-function relationships in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Moreover, little work has been done to probe the causal relationship between dendritic morphology and neuronal excitability, leaving only speculation about the adaptive versus maladaptive nature of experience-dependent dendritic remodeling. We propose that future studies combine electrophysiology with a circuit-level approach to better understand how dendritic structure contributes to neuronal functional properties and behavioral outcomes.


Dendrites; Estrogen; Estrous; Hippocampus; Prefrontal cortex; Spines; Stress

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