The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

Modulation by adrenal steroids of limbic function.

PMID 1888685


The effects of various steroid hormones on the long-term potentiation (LTP) of the rat hippocampus were evaluated. LTP was elicited in the dentate gyrus of adrenalectomized animals with priming tetanic stimulation (200 Hz-0.03 cps) of its main afferent, the perforant pathway. Single pulse EPSP (excitatory post-synaptic potential) slope, and PS (population spike) amplitude values were compared before and after the i.v. injection of the hormones and subsequently after the priming stimulation every 15 min up to 1 h. 18-OH-deoxycorticosterone (18-OH-DOC) produced a significant decrease of the EPSP LTP and arrested the PS enhancement in comparison with vehicle at every time post-tetanic stimulation. Its 21-acetate derivative produced a moderate decrease of the EPSP and had no effect on the PS LTP in comparison with vehicle. Deoxycorticosterone (DOC) exhibited similar effects on the EPSP although less marked than with 18-OH-DOC while the PS only decreased in the first 30 min post-train. Corticosterone decreased both EPSP and PS for the first 15 and 30 min after priming stimulation, respectively, matching values with those of vehicle afterwards. Its 21-acetate produced an initial decrease of the EPSP and had no effect on the PS LTP. Allo-tetrahydro-DOC produced little, if any, initial enhancement of the PS LTP in comparison with vehicle. These results show that the adrenal steroids tested can modulate hippocampal LTP, a plastic phenomenon in the mammalian CNS which is known to be related to memory and learning processes. Moreover, adrenal steroids can independently modify the PS or EPSP components of the LTP, suggesting different loci of action at the neuronal level.

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Corticosterone 21-acetate, VETRANAL, analytical standard