Glucocorticoid-glutamatergic interactions have been proposed as a potential model to explain stress-mediated impairment of cognition. However, it is unknown whether glucocorticoid-zincergic interactions are involved in this impairment. Histochemically reactive zinc (Zn(2+)) is co-released with glutamate from zincergic neurons. In the present study, involvement of synaptic Zn(2+) in stress-induced attenuation of CA1 LTP was examined in hippocampal slices from young rats after exposure to tail suspension stress for 30s, which significantly increased serum corticosterone. Stress-induced attenuation of CA1 LTP was ameliorated by administration of clioquinol, a membrane permeable zinc chelator, to rats prior to exposure to stress, implying that the reduction of synaptic Zn(2+) by clioquinol participates in this amelioration. To pursue the involvement of corticosterone-mediated Zn(2+) signal in the attenuated CA1 LTP by stress, dynamics of synaptic Zn(2+) was checked in hippocampal slices exposed to corticosterone. Corticosterone increased extracellular Zn(2+) levels measured with ZnAF-2 dose-dependently, as well as the intracellular Ca(2+) levels measured with calcium orange AM, suggesting that corticosterone excites zincergic neurons in the hippocampus and increases Zn(2+) release from the neuron terminals. Intracellular Zn(2+) levels measured with ZnAF-2DA were also increased dose-dependently, but not in the coexistence of CaEDTA, a membrane-impermeable zinc chelator, suggesting that intracellular Zn(2+) levels is increased by the influx of extracellular Zn(2+). Furthermore, corticosterone-induced attenuation of CA1 LTP was abolished in the coexistence of CaEDTA. The present study suggests that corticosterone-mediated increase in postsynaptic Zn(2+) signal in the cytosolic compartment is involved in the attenuation of CA1 LTP after exposure to acute stress.
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