The hippocampus is intimately sensitive to stress hormones and responds to stress through changes in structure, neurochemistry, and excitability. Both acute and chronic stress can compromise the hippocampus: acute stress exacerbates hippocampal damage when combined with a metabolic challenge, while chronic stress directly produces hippocampal dendritic retraction. Neurons expressing dendritic retraction may inadvertently increase the risk for compromised hippocampal health. Factors influencing hippocampal health include genetics, stress exposure during development, gender, and coping strategies. Understanding these risks and taking steps to avoid or attenuate the impact of chronic stress can help mitigate the potential negative effects on the body and brain.
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
- Maternal care
- Sex differences
- Stress response
ASJC Scopus subject areas