Diurnal and stress-induced intra-hippocampal corticosterone rise attenuated in 11β-HSD1-deficient mice: a microdialysis study in young and aged mice

Joyce L W Yau, June Noble, Christopher J Kenyon, Mike Ludwig, Jonathan R Seckl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) locally regenerates active glucocorticoids from their inert forms thereby amplifying intracellular levels within target tissues including the brain. We previously showed greater increases in intra-hippocampal corticosterone (CORT) levels upon Y-maze testing in aged wild-type than in 11β-HSD1(-/-) mice coinciding with impaired and intact spatial memory, respectively. Here we examined whether ageing influences 11β-HSD1 regulation of CORT in the dorsal hippocampus under basal conditions during the diurnal cycle and following stress. Intra-hippocampal CORT levels measured by in vivo microdialysis in freely behaving wild-type mice displayed a diurnal variation with peak levels in the evening that were significantly elevated with ageing. In contrast, the diurnal rise in intra-hippocampal CORT levels was greatly diminished in 11β-HSD1(-/-) mice and there was no rise with ageing; basal intra-hippocampal CORT levels were similar to wild-type controls. Furthermore, a short (3 min) swim stress induced a longer lasting increase in intra-hippocampal CORT levels in wild-type mice than in 11β-HSD1(-/-) mice despite no genotypic differences in elevation of plasma CORT. These data indicate that 11β-HSD1 activity contributes substantially to diurnal and stress-induced increases in hippocampal CORT levels. This contribution is even greater with ageing. Thus, 11β-HSD1 inhibition may be an attractive target for treating cognitive impairments associated with stress or ageing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-92
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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