Unpredictable and uncontrollable stress impairs neuronal plasticity in the rat hippocampus.

Almost by definition, learning and the effect of stress on learning represent modifications of existing neuronal circuitry. Under some circumstances, this modification can be measured electrophysiologically. One such measure of plasticity is long-term potentiation (LTP), a long-lasting increase in synaptic efficacy following brief exposure to tetanic stimulation. In 1987, Foy et al. reported that hippocampal LTP was impaired by exposure to inescapable shock. We have recent evidence that the impairment in LTP can be prevented by allowing the animal to learn to escape the shock (Shors et al., 1989), indicating that the stress effect is to some extent mediated by "psychological" variables. Regardless of LTP's putative role in learning and memory processes, such a stress-induced decrease in neuronal plasticity is likely to have profound effects on the behaving organism.
AuthorsT J Shors, M R Foy, S Levine, R F Thompson
JournalBrain research bulletin (Brain Res Bull) Vol. 24 Issue 5 Pg. 663-7 (May 1990) ISSN: 0361-9230 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID2192774 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S., Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S., Review)
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Hippocampus (physiopathology)
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Stress, Physiological (physiopathology)

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