Stress, cognitive impairment and cell adhesion molecules

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004 Dec;5(12):917-30. doi: 10.1038/nrn1555.


Stress has profound effects on brain structure and function, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. Recent studies imply that neuronal cell adhesion molecules of the immunoglobulin superfamily--NCAM and L1--are important mediators of the effects of stress on the brain. Chronic stress regimes that lead to hippocampal atrophy and spatial-learning impairment in rodents simultaneously induce a pattern of changes in cell adhesion molecule expression that fits with a role for these molecules in stress-induced neuronal damage and neuroprotective mechanisms. These findings highlight cell adhesion molecules as potential therapeutic targets to treat stress-related cognitive disturbances.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology
  • Glucocorticoids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological / pathology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Glucocorticoids