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Stress. 2018 Sep;21(5):389-402. doi: 10.1080/10253890.2018.1456526. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptor-mediated control of genomic responses to stress in the brain.

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a Neuro-Epigenetics Research Group, Bristol Medical School , University of Bristol , Bristol , UK.


Successful coping with stressful events involves adaptive and cognitive processes in the brain that make the individual more resilient to similar stressors in the future. Stressful events result in the secretion of glucocorticoids (GCs) from the adrenal glands into the blood stream. Early work proved instrumental for developing the concept that these hormones act in the brain to coordinate physiological and behavioral responses to stress through binding to two different GC-binding receptors. Once activated these receptors translocate to the nucleus where they act on target genes to facilitate (or sometimes inhibit) transcription. There are two types of receptors in the brain, the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), and glucocorticoid receptor (GR). This review summarizes recent work which provides new insights regarding the genomic action of these receptors, both under baseline conditions and following exposure to acute stress. This work is discussed alongside the extensive studies undertaken in this field previously and new, and exciting "big data" studies which have generated a wealth of relevant data. The consequence of these new insights will challenge existing assumptions about the role of MRs and GRs and pave the way for the implementation of novel and improved methodologies to identify the role these corticosteroid receptors have in stress-related behavioral adaptation.


Mineralocorticoid receptor; brain; corticosterone; glucocorticoid receptor; hippocampus; stress

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