The stressed hippocampus, synaptic plasticity and lost memories

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jun;3(6):453-62. doi: 10.1038/nrn849.


Stress is a biologically significant factor that, by altering brain cell properties, can disturb cognitive processes such as learning and memory, and consequently limit the quality of human life. Extensive rodent and human research has shown that the hippocampus is not only crucially involved in memory formation, but is also highly sensitive to stress. So, the study of stress-induced cognitive and neurobiological sequelae in animal models might provide valuable insight into the mnemonic mechanisms that are vulnerable to stress. Here, we provide an overview of the neurobiology of stress memory interactions, and present a neural endocrine model to explain how stress modifies hippocampal functioning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / pathology
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiopathology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / complications*
  • Stress, Physiological / pathology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Synapses / pathology
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents