Chronic stress results in functional and structural changes to the brain and especially the hippocampus. Decades of research have provided insights into the mechanisms by which chronic stress impairs hippocampal-mediated cognition and the corresponding reduction of hippocampal CA3 apical dendritic complexity. Yet, when chronic stress ends and time passes, which we refer to as a “post-stress rest period,” hippocampal-mediated spatial memory deficits begin to improve and CA3 apical dendritic arbors increase in complexity. The processes by which the hippocampus improves from a chronically stressed state are not simply the reversal of the mechanisms that produced spatial memory deficits and CA3 apical dendritic retraction. This review will discuss our current understanding of how a chronically stressed hippocampus improves after a post-stress rest period. Untangling the mechanisms that allow for this post-stress plasticity is a critical next step in understanding how to promote resilience in the face of stressors.
- Brain derived neurotrophic factor
- Dendritic complexity
- Spatial ability
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems