Abstract Psychosocial stress, and within the neuroendocrine reaction to stress specifically the glucocorticoid hormones, are well-characterized inhibitors of neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation in the adult hippocampus, resulting in a marked reduction in the production of new neurons in this brain area relevant for learning and memory. However, the mechanisms by which stress, and particularly glucocorticoids, inhibit neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation remain unclear and under debate. Here we review the literature on the topic and discuss the evidence for direct and indirect effects of glucocorticoids on neural stem/progenitor cell proliferation and adult neurogenesis. Further, we discuss the hypothesis that glucocorticoid rhythmicity and oscillations originating from the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, may be crucial for the regulation of neural stem/progenitor cells in the hippocampus, as well as the implications of this hypothesis for pathophysiological conditions in which glucocorticoid oscillations are affected.
- Adult hippocampal neurogenesis
- Glucocorticoid oscillations
- Neural stem cells
Fitzsimons, C. P., Herbert, J., Schouten, M., Meijer, O. C., Lucassen, P. J., & Lightman, S. (2016). Circadian and Ultradian Glucocorticoid Rhythmicity: Implications for the Effects of Glucocorticoids on Neural Stem Cells and Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 41, 44-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yfrne.2016.05.001