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Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Mar;220(2):1205-12. doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0713-0. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Differential impact of chronic stress along the hippocampal dorsal-ventral axis.

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Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Health Sciences, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.


Stress impacts differently in distinct brain regions. However, so far few studies have focused on the differential responses triggered by stressful stimuli on the intrinsic functional heterogeneity of the hippocampal axis. In this study, we assessed the functional and structural alterations caused by exposure to a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) paradigm on the dorsal-ventral axis of the hippocampus. The morphological analysis demonstrated that CUS had opposite outcomes in the structure of the dorsal (DH) and ventral hippocampus (VH): whereas in the DH, stress triggered a volumetric reduction as a result of atrophy of CA3 and CA1 apical dendrites, in the VH there was an increase in hippocampal volume concurrent with the increase of CA3 apical dendrites. In parallel, electrophysiological data revealed that stress led to a decrease in VH LTD. In summary, the present work showed that stress impacts differently on the structure and function of the DH and VH which contributes to better understand the overall spectrum of the central effects of stress.

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