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Neuroscience. 2010 Jul 14;168(3):680-90. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.04.023. Epub 2010 Apr 18.

Chronic high corticosterone reduces neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of adult male and female rats.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, V6T 1Z4 Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is altered with stress exposure and has been implicated in depression. High levels of corticosterone (CORT) suppress neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of male rats. However both acute and chronic stress do not consistently reduce adult hippocampal neurogenesis in female rats. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the effect of different doses of corticosterone on hippocampal neurogenesis in male and female rats. Rats received 21 days of s.c. injections of either oil, 10 or 40 mg/kg CORT. Subjects were perfused 24 h after the last CORT injection and brains were analyzed for cell proliferation (Ki67-labeling) or immature neurons (doublecortin-labeling). Results show that in both males and females high CORT, but not low CORT, reduced both cell proliferation and the density of immature neurons in the dentate gyrus. Furthermore, high CORT males had reduced density in immature neurons in both the ventral and dorsal regions while high CORT females only showed the reduced density of immature neurons in the ventral hippocampus. The high dose of CORT disrupted the estrous cycle of females. Further, the low dose of CORT significantly reduced weight gain and increased basal CORT levels in males but not females, suggesting a greater vulnerability in males with the lower dose of CORT. Thus we find subtle sex differences in the response to chronic CORT on both body weight and on neurogenesis in the dorsal dentate gyrus that may play a role in understanding different vulnerabilities to stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders between the sexes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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