Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function and corticosterone receptor expression in behaviourally characterized young and aged Long-Evans rats

Jennifer L. Bizon, Katherine A. Helm, Jung Soo Han, Hyun Ja Chun, Jolanta Pucilowska, Pauline Kay Lund, Michela Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the current investigation, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function was examined in young and aged male Long-Evans rats that were initially assessed on a version of the Morris water maze sensitive to cognitive impairment during ageing. In behaviourally characterized rats, a 1-h restraint stress paradigm revealed that plasma corticosterone concentrations in aged cognitively impaired rats took significantly longer to return to baseline following the stressor than did those in young or aged cognitively unimpaired rats. No differences in basal or peak plasma corticosterone concentrations, however, were observed between young or aged rats, irrespective of cognitive status. Using ribonuclease protection assays and in situ hybridization, we evaluated mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) mRNA abundance in young and aged rats characterized on the spatial task. Abundance of MR mRNA was decreased as a function of age in stratum granulosum but not hippocampus proper, and the decrease in MR mRNA was largely unrelated to cognitive status. However, GR mRNA was significantly reduced in several hippocampal subfields (i.e. stratum granulosum and temporal hippocampus proper) and other related cortical structures (medial prefrontal and olfactory regions) of aged cognitively impaired rats compared to either young or aged cognitively unimpaired cohorts, and was significantly correlated with spatial learning ability among the aged rats in each of these brain regions. In agreement with previous stereological data from this ageing model, no changes were detected in neuron density in the hippocampus of the rats used in the in situ hybridization analysis. These data are the first to describe a coordinated decrease in GR mRNA in a functional brain system including hippocampus and related cortical areas that occurs in tandem with impairments of the HPA response to stress and cognitive decline in ageing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1751
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume14
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

Long Evans Rats
Mineralocorticoid Receptors
Hippocampus
Glucocorticoid Receptors
Messenger RNA
Corticosterone
In Situ Hybridization
corticosterone receptor
Brain
Ribonucleases
Neurons
Water

Keywords

  • Glucocorticoid
  • GR
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • MR
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function and corticosterone receptor expression in behaviourally characterized young and aged Long-Evans rats. / Bizon, Jennifer L.; Helm, Katherine A.; Han, Jung Soo; Chun, Hyun Ja; Pucilowska, Jolanta; Lund, Pauline Kay; Gallagher, Michela.

In: European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 14, No. 10, 2001, p. 1739-1751.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bizon, Jennifer L. ; Helm, Katherine A. ; Han, Jung Soo ; Chun, Hyun Ja ; Pucilowska, Jolanta ; Lund, Pauline Kay ; Gallagher, Michela. / Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function and corticosterone receptor expression in behaviourally characterized young and aged Long-Evans rats. In: European Journal of Neuroscience. 2001 ; Vol. 14, No. 10. pp. 1739-1751.
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