On the role of glueocorticoid receptors in brain plasticity

Kjell Fuxe, Rochellys Diaz, Antonio Cintra, Maheep Bhatnagar, Barbro Tinner, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Sven Ove Õgren, Luigi F. Agnati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


1. The mapping of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in the rat central nervous system (CNS) has demonstrated their widespread presence in large numbers of nerve and glial cell populations also outside the classical stress regions. 2. The present paper summarizes the evidence that glucocorticoids via GR in the CNS can act as lifelong organizing signals from development to aging. The following examples are given. (a) In the prepubertal and adult offspring, prenatal corticosterone treatment can produce long-lasting changes in striatal dopaminer-gic communication. (b) In adulthood, the evidence suggests complex regulation by adrenocortical hormones of neurotrophic factors and their receptors in the hippocampal formation. (c) In aging, the strongly GR-immunoreactive pyramidal cell layer of the CA1 hippocampal area appears to be preferentially vulnerable to neurotoxic actions of glucocorticoids, especially in some rat strains. 3. Strong evidence suggests that each nerve cell in the CNS is supported by a trophic unit, consisting of other nerve cells and glial cells, blood vessels, and extracellular matrix molecules. Due to multiple actions on nerve and glial cell populations of the different trophic units, the glucocorticoids may exert either an overall trophic or a neurotoxic action. It seems likely that with increasing age, the endangering actions of glucocorticoids on nerve cells prevail over the neurotrophic ones, leading to reduced nerve cell survival in some trophic units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages20
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Adulthood
  • Aging
  • Astroglia
  • Brain
  • Development
  • Dopamine
  • Glucocorticoid receptors
  • Neurons
  • Neurotrophic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Neuroscience(all)

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