Manipulation of gonadal hormones in neonatal rats alters the morphological response of cortical neurons to brain injury in adulthood

Behav Neurosci. 2003 Apr;117(2):257-62. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.117.2.257.


The authors examined the effects of sex and neonatal hormones on the response of pyramidal cells (Layer III, parietal cortex) to injury of the medial frontal cortex in the adult rat. At birth, males were gonadectomized (GDX) or sham-operated. Females were given testosterone (T) or oil injections. In adulthood, rats that had been left intact at birth were GDX, and they then received bilateral medial frontal cortex lesions or sham surgery. Rats not exposed to T at birth exhibited losses of dendritic arbor (males GDX at birth) or dendritic spine density (oil-treated females). Compensation after cortical injury is dependent on the rat's sex and history of exposure to gonadal steroids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Castration
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Cerebral Cortex / injuries
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cerebral Cortex / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / drug effects
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Morphogenesis / drug effects
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Sex Differentiation
  • Silver Staining / methods
  • Testosterone / pharmacology


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Testosterone