Role of adrenal steroid mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors in long-term potentiation in the CA1 field of hippocampal slices

Brain Res. 1996 Nov 4;738(2):229-35. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(96)00776-7.


We previously demonstrated in the dentate gyrus (DG) of anesthetized and freely behaving rats that both acute as well as chronic administration of corticosterone produces a suppression in long-term potentiation (LTP). In subsequent studies we showed, again in the DG, that activation of the two types of adrenal steroid receptors (mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR)) produce biphasic effects on synaptic plasticity; activation of MR produces an enhancement while activation of GR produces a suppression in LTP. In a separate study, we further demonstrated in rats administered the specific GR agonist RU 28362 that high-frequency stimulation, which normally produces LTP, instead produced long-term depression (LTD) in these animals. In the present study we investigated the effects of MR and GR activation by adrenal steroids on synaptic plasticity of the hippocampal CA1 field, but we studied this ex vivo, in a slice preparation. The results indicate that, as in our studies in the DG, adrenal steroids produce biphasic effects: in ADX rats, aldosterone (a specific MR agonist) enhanced while RU 28362 suppressed synaptic plasticity. Unlike the in vivo preparation, however, rarely was LTD observed in the animals receiving RU 28362. Also, ADX itself did not produce noticeable effects on synaptic plasticity. The present results are in agreement with previous studies showing that elevations in corticosterone or an acute episode of experimentally induced stress in vivo causes a suppression in LTP in the hippocampal CA1 field, in vitro.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / physiology
  • Aldosterone / pharmacology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Androstanols / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Long-Term Potentiation / drug effects
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / agonists
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / physiology*
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid / agonists
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid / physiology*


  • Androstanols
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Receptors, Mineralocorticoid
  • Aldosterone
  • 11,17-dihydroxy-6-methyl-17-(1-propynyl)androsta-1,4,6-triene-3-one