Selective loss of hippocampal granule cells in the mature rat brain after adrenalectomy

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Science  27 Jan 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4890, pp. 535-538
DOI: 10.1126/science.2911756


Adrenalectomy of adult male rats resulted in a nearly complete loss of hippocampal granule cells 3 to 4 months after surgery. Nissl and immunocytochemical staining of hippocampal neurons revealed that the granule cell loss was selective; there was no apparent loss of hippocampal pyramidal cells or of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA)-, somatostatin-, neuropeptide Y-, calcium binding protein-, or parvalbumin-containing hippocampal interneurons. The hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells of adrenalectomized animals exhibited normal electrophysiological responses to afferent stimulation, whereas responses evoked in the dentate gyrus were severely attenuated. Corticosterone replacement prevented both the adrenalectomy-induced granule cell loss and the attenuated physiological response. Thus, the adrenal glands play a role in maintaining the structural integrity of the normal adult brain.

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