Author(s): Fuchs E, Flgge G
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Abstract Sustained stress can have numerous pathophysiological effects. Adrenal glucocorticoid hormones are principal effectors in the stress response. They have profound effects on mood and behavior and affect neurochemical transmission and neuroendocrine control. We have used the experimental paradigm of chronic psychosocial stress in tree shrews to investigate the impact of aversive social encounters on brain structures. Chronic stress in male tree shrews which is accompanied by constantly elevated levels of glucocorticoids leads to structural changes in hippocampal neurons. Whereas dendritic atrophy of hippocampal pyramidal neurons and impairment of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus could be demonstrated in chronically stressed tree shrews, a loss of hippocampal neurons was not observed in this animal model. The present review summarizes recent results on the question which structural changes occur during chronic stress in neurons of the brain and whether glucocorticoids might be responsible for such stress effects. The role of transmitter systems in stress-related neuronal plasticity is also discussed.
This article was published in Neurosci Biobehav Rev
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research