Stress, memory, and the hippocampus: can't live with it, can't live without it
Review articleOpen access

AbstractSince the 1968s discovery of receptors for stress hormones (corticosteroids) in the rodent hippocampus, a tremendous amount of data has been gathered on the specific and somewhat isolated role of the hippocampus in stress reactivity. The hippocampal sensitivity to stress has also been extended in order to explain the negative impact of stress and related stress hormones on animal and human cognitive function. As a consequence, a majority of studies now uses the stress–hippocampus link as a working hypothesis in setting up experimental protocols. However, in the last decade, new data were gathered showing that stress impacts on many cortical and subcortical brain structures other than the hippocampus. The goal of this paper is to summarize the four major arguments previously used in order to confirm the stress–hippocampus link, and to describe new data showing the implication of other brain regions for each of these previously used arguments. The conclusion of this analysis will be that scientists should gain from extending the impact of stress hormones to other brain regions, since hormonal functions on the brain are best explained by their modulatory role on various brain structures, rather than by their unique impact on one particular brain region.

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