Granule cells in the rat hippocampal dentate gyrus contain intracellular receptors for the adrenal hormone corticosterone. Activation of these receptors seems essential for granule cell viability, since removal of the adrenal gland (adrenalectomy) results within three days in apoptotic-like degeneration of. granule cells. In the present study we used extracellular in vitro recording methods to study the synaptic transmission in the dentate gyrus of adrenalectomized animals, in sham-operated controls and adrenalectomized rats treated with a low dose of corticosterone. We found that particularly three days after adrenalectomy orthodromic field responses in the dentate gyrus were reduced in amplitude. Corticosterone-treated rats did not show this impairment of synaptic transmission. Antidromically-evoked field responses were also reduced after adrenalectomy, which indicates that postsynaptic cell properties rather than signal transduction in the synapses are under steroid control. Responses to paired pulse stimulation were only marginally affected, suggesting that interneuronal networks may be less affected by the hormones than the principal cells.
These electrophysiological data indicate that adrenalectomy induced apoptotic-like degeneration in the hippocampal dentate gyrus is clearly associated with impaired processing of incoming information. (C) 1998 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
- field potential
- GRANULE CELL DEGENERATION
- HIPPOCAMPAL SLICE ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY
- PROLONGED STIMULATION
- PERFORANT PATH
- BALB/C MICE
- HILAR CELLS