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Stress. 1996 Jul;1(1):51-64.

Dexamethasone Does Not Prevent Seven-Day ADX-Induced Apoptosis in the Dentate Gyrus of the Rat Hippocampus.

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Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, Division of Medical Pharmacology, University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Long-term adrenalectomy (ADX) is known to result in apoptosis within the dentate gyrus of the rat hippocampus. While the underlying mechanism is still unclear, adrenal steroids appear to play a pivotal role in granule cell survival, as administration of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) agonists, corticosterone and aldosterone, to ADX rats results in protection against the ADX-induced effect. The consequence of administration of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) agonists, dexamethasone and RU28362, however, is less clear, and either complete or only partial protection for the ADX animal has been reported. This study investigated further the role played by GR in the degenerative process. After establishing the characteristics of seven-day ADX-induced apoptosis in the young male Wistar rat, the effect of chronically-implanted, subcutaneous pellets containing various doses of dexamethasone and corticosterone, on ADX-induced apoptosis was studied. Both high and low doses of corticosterone were found to be protective. In contrast to some other studies, however, neither dose of dexamethasone had any obvious protective effect and rather seemed to increase apoptosis in dentate gyrus of intact animals. Intracerebroventricular infusion of dexamethasone for seven days was also found to be ineffective in preventing apoptosis, demonstrating that it is occupation of MR, rather than GR, which is crucial to dentate gyrus granule cell survival.

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