Morphological changes in the hippocampal CA3 region induced by non-invasive glucocorticoid administration: a paradox

Brain Res. 1998 Nov 2;809(2):314-8. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(98)00882-8.


Repeated stress induces atrophy, or remodeling, of apical dendrites in hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons. In rats, the stress effect is blocked by adrenal steroid synthesis inhibitors, and mimicked by daily injection of corticosterone. We report that non-invasive administration of corticosterone in the drinking water (400 micrograms/ml) also produced atrophy of apical dendrites in CA3. Unexpectedly, the combination of daily stress and oral corticosterone negated the effects of either treatment alone, and no changes in the apical dendritic length or branching pattern of CA3 pyramidal neurons were observed compared to control unstressed rats.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Atrophy
  • Cell Size / drug effects
  • Corticosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dendrites / drug effects*
  • Dendrites / pathology
  • Drinking
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Silver Staining
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Corticosterone