Control of neuronal excitability by corticosteroid hormones

Trends Neurosci. 1992 Jan;15(1):25-30. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(92)90345-9.


The rat adrenal hormone corticosterone can cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to two intracellular receptor populations in the brain--the mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors. Recent studies have revealed that the corticosteroid hormones are able to restore changes in neuronal membrane properties induced by current or neurotransmitters, probably through a genomic action. In general, mineralocorticoid receptors mediate steroid actions that enhance cellular excitability, whereas activated glucocorticoid receptors can suppress temporarily raised neuronal activity. The steroid-mediated control of excitability and the implications for information processing in the brain are reviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid