Support for a bimodal role for type II adrenal steroid receptors in spatial memory

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1999 Jul;72(1):39-46. doi: 10.1006/nlme.1998.3898.


We investigated the effects of acute adrenal steroid treatment on spatial memory using the Y-maze and employing adrenal steroid receptor antagonists and agonists. For receptor activation, adrenalectomized rats were injected 2 h prior to their first Y-maze trial with sesame oil (adrenalectomy or SHAM), stress levels of corticosterone, a Type I receptor agonist (aldosterone), or a Type II receptor agonist (RU362). For receptor inactivation, unoperated rats were injected with a Type I receptor antagonist (RU318), a Type II receptor antagonist (RU555), sesame oil, or not injected at all. The findings indicated that spatial memory was impaired when the Type II receptors were blocked (RU555) or highly occupied (corticosterone or RU362) and normal for the other treatment conditions. These data suggest that the Type II receptors may be responsible for the inverted U-shaped relationship between spatial memory and corticosterone levels reported by others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenalectomy
  • Aldosterone / pharmacology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Androstanols / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Corticosterone / blood*
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / classification
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology*
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid / physiology


  • Androstanols
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid
  • Aldosterone
  • 11,17-dihydroxy-6-methyl-17-(1-propynyl)androsta-1,4,6-triene-3-one
  • Corticosterone