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How stress remodels the brain

Scientists unveil molecular pathway behind stress-induced structural changes

Date:
March 30, 2020
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice.
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Stress restructures the brain by halting the production of crucial ion channel proteins, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Stress harms the brain and body in profound ways. One way is by altering astrocytes, the brain's housekeepers tasked with mopping up neurotransmitters after they've been released into the synapse. On the cellular level, stress causes the branches of astrocytes to retract from the synapses they wrap around.

Bender et al. investigated what controlled astrocyte changes after mice experienced exposure to the urine of a fox, their natural predator. This single stressful event caused quick but long-lasting retraction of the astrocyte's branches. Stress induces this change by halting the production of GluA1, an essential subunit of glutamate receptors. During a stressful event, the stress hormone norepinephrine suppresses a molecular pathway that normally culminates in the protein synthesis of GluA1. Without functional GluA1 or glutamate receptors, neurons and astrocytes lose their ability to communicate with each other.


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Materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Crhistian Luis Bender, Xingxing Sun, Muhammad Farooq, Qian Yang, Caroline Davison, Matthieu Maroteaux, Yi-shuian Huang, Yoshihiro Ishikawa, Siqiong June Liu. Emotional stress induces structural plasticity in Bergmann glial cells via an AC5-CPEB3-GluA1 pathway. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2020; JN-RM-0013-19 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0013-19.2020

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Society for Neuroscience. "How stress remodels the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200330130554.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2020, March 30). How stress remodels the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200330130554.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "How stress remodels the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200330130554.htm (accessed July 17, 2024).

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