, Volume 17, Issue 1-3, pp 87-108

Corticosteroids in the brain

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The rat adrenal hormone corticosterone reaches the brain and binds to intracellular receptors. These receptors comprise high-affinity mineralocorticoid and lower-affinity glucocorticoid receptors that, upon activation, affect the transcription rate of specific genes. The two receptor types are discretely localized in the brain, with particularly high expression levels in the hippocampus. Here we review recent studies showing that electrical properties and structural aspects of hippocampal principal neurons are specifically regulated by mineralocorticoid- or glucocorticoid-receptor activation. The molecular mechanisms by which these cellular effects could be accomplished are discussed.