Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress Hormone Impacts Memory, Learning In Diabetic Rodents

Date:
February 19, 2008
Source:
NIH/National Institute on Aging
Summary:
Diabetes is known to impair the cognitive health of people, but now scientists have identified one potential mechanism underlying these learning and memory problems. A new National Institutes of Health study in diabetic rodents finds that increased levels of a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland disrupt the healthy functioning of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and short-term memory.

Diabetes is known to impair the cognitive health of people, but now scientists have identified one potential mechanism underlying these learning and memory problems. A new study in diabetic rodents finds that increased levels of a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland disrupt the healthy functioning of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and short-term memory. Moreover, when levels of the adrenal glucocorticoid hormone corticosterone (also known as cortisol in humans) are returned to normal, the hippocampus recovers its ability to build new cells and regains the "plasticity" needed to compensate for injury and disease and adjust to change.

The study appears in the Feb. 17, 2008, issue of Nature Neuroscience and was conducted by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH. NIA's Mark Mattson, Ph.D., and colleagues in the Institute's Intramural Research Program performed the study with Alexis M. Stranahan, a graduate student at Princeton University in New Jersey.

"This research in animal models is intriguing, suggesting the possibility of novel approaches in preventing and treating cognitive impairment by maintaining normal levels of glucocorticoid," said Richard J. Hodes, M.D., NIA director. "Further study will provide a better understanding of the often complex interplay between the nervous system, hormones and cognitive health."

Cortisol production is controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA), a hormone-producing system involving the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain and the adrenal gland located near the kidney. People with poorly controlled diabetes often have an overactive HPA axis and excessive cortisol produced by the adrenal gland. To study the interaction between elevated stress hormones and the hippocampal function, researchers tested the cognitive abilities and examined the brain tissue in animal models of rats with Type 1 diabetes (insulin deficient) and mice with Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistant).

Researchers found that diabetic animals in both models exhibited learning and memory deficits when cortisol levels were elevated due to impaired plasticity and declines in new cell growth. Returning the levels to normal, however, reversed the negative impact on the hippocampus and restored learning and memory.

"This advance in our understanding of the physiological changes caused by excessive production of cortisol may eventually play a role in preventing and treating cognitive decline in diabetes," said Mattson, who heads the NIA's Laboratory of Neurosciences. He and Stranahan explained these findings may also help explain the connection between stress-related mood disorders and diabetes found in human population studies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute on Aging. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute on Aging. "Stress Hormone Impacts Memory, Learning In Diabetic Rodents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133245.htm>.
NIH/National Institute on Aging. (2008, February 19). Stress Hormone Impacts Memory, Learning In Diabetic Rodents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133245.htm
NIH/National Institute on Aging. "Stress Hormone Impacts Memory, Learning In Diabetic Rodents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080217133245.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

Uganda on Alert for Ebola but No Confirmed Cases

AFP (July 31, 2014) Uganda's health minister said on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in the country, but that it remained on alert for cases of the deadly virus. Uganda has suffered Ebola outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012. Duration: 00:59 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins