Neuronal type II glucocorticoid receptor-like immunoreactivity in the central nervous system shows heterogeneity in intensities and relative densities. This might predict variations in the regional responses of neuronal immunoreactivity to corticosteroids. We investigated changes in the intracellular location of immunoreactivity in the rat central nervous system after adrenalectomy and corticosteroid treatment, and carried out detailed statistical analysis of changes in neuronal nuclear immunoreactivity in the hippocampus and caudate-putamen. Three types of responses were observed. The majority of neurons, classified type A, showed a predominant nuclear immunoreactivity in intact rats, lost nuclear and eventually cytoplasmic immunoreactivity after adrenalectomy, and regained nuclear immunoreactivity within 5 min of corticosterone and 2 h of aldosterone treatment, respectively. A subgroup of neurons in the hippocampus, striatum, septum, and habenula, classified type B, were not immunoreactive in intact rats, showed intense cytoplasmic immunoreactivity after adrenalectomy, and disappeared rapidly after corticosterone treatment and later in response to aldosterone. A subgroup of vermal cerebellar Purkinje neurons, classified type C, developed an intense cytoplasmic immunoreactivity after adrenalectomy, increased in number in response to corticosterone, and did not respond to aldosterone.
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