Stress induces atrophy of apical dendrites of hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons

Brain Res. 1992 Aug 21;588(2):341-5. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(92)91597-8.


The hippocampus is vulnerable to the damaging actions of insults such as transient ischemia and repetitive stimulation, as well as repeated exposure to exogenous glucocorticoids. This study investigated effects of a repeated psychological stressor, restraint, on the CA3 pyramidal neurons which are vulnerable to damage by repetitive stimulation. Repeated daily restraint stress for 21 days caused apical dendrites of CA3 pyramidal neurons to atrophy, while basal CA3 dendrites did not change. Rats undergoing this treatment were healthy and showed some adaptation of the glucocorticoid stress response over 21 days; however, stress reduced body weight gain by 14% and increased adrenal weight relative to body weight by 20%. Results are discussed in relation to the possible role of adrenal steroids and excitatory amino acids.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Organ Size / physiology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Stress, Psychological / pathology*


  • Corticosterone