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Influence of Corticosterone Levels during Gestation on the Development and Maturation of the Rat Hippocampus and Cerebral Cortex

Author(s): Leret ML, González JC, Peinado V, Trejo JL and Rua C

This work reports that removing or reducing circulating corticosterone during rat embryonic development leads to immaturity of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus at 20 days of embryonic life (E20). Maternal adrenalectomy also leads to changes in the development and maturation of the monoaminergic systems in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex; a sexually dimorphic response to such maternal treatment was observed in the monoamine levels of adult offspring brains. These results show the necessity of the action of glucocorticoids on glucocorticoid receptors in the foetal brain during crucial gestational time windows, the decisive role of foetal glucocorticoids, and a direct effect of maternal corticosterone on the development ofmonoaminergic systems. In summary, a reduction in corticosterone levels during embryonic life can lead to organisational changes in brain development.

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