Chronic corticosterone administration reduces dendritic complexity in mature, but not young granule cells in the rat dentate gyrus

Suk Yu Yau, Ang Li, Jian Bin Tong, Crystal Bostrom, Brian R. Christie, Tatia M.C. Lee, Kwok Fai So

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Our previous work has shown that exposure to the stress hormone corticosterone (40mg/kg CORT) for two weeks induces dendritic atrophy of pyramidal neurons in the hippocampal CA3 region and behavioral deficits. However, it is unclear whether this treatment also affects the dentate gyrus (DG), a subregion of the hippocampus comprising a heterogeneous population of young and mature neurons. Objective: We examined the effect of CORT treatment on the dendritic complexity of mature and young granule cells in the DG. Methods: We utilized a Golgi staining method to investigate the dendritic morphology and spine density of young neurons in the inner granular cell layer (GCL) and mature neurons in the outer GCL in response to CORT application. The expressions of glucocorticoid receptors during neuronal maturation were examined using Western blot analysis in a primary hippocampal neuronal culture. Results: Sholl analysis revealed that CORT treatment decreased the number of intersections and shortened the dendritic length in mature, but not young, granule cells. However, the spine density of mature and young neurons was not affected. Western blot analysis showed a progressive increase in the protein levels of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) in the cultured primary hippocampal neurons during neuronal maturation. Conclusion: These data suggest that mature neurons are likely more vulnerable to chronic exposure to CORT; this may be due to their higher expression of GRs when compared to younger DG neurons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-857
Number of pages9
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Corticosterone
  • dendritic complexity
  • dentate gyrus
  • glucocorticoid receptors
  • Golgi staining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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