- Hippocampal GR expression is increased in elderly depressed females.
- Volume | Issue number
- 62 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Hyperactivity of the Hypthalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA)-axis is common in major depression and evident from e.g., a frequently exaggerated response to combined application of dexamethasone and CRH in this disorder. HPA-axis activity and hence the secretion of glucocorticoids (GC), the endpoint of the HPA-axis, depends to some extent on GC binding to glucocorticoid receptors (GR) that are abundantly expressed in the hippocampus. To assess whether differences in hippocampal GR expression occur in association with depression, we investigated GR-alpha protein immunoreactivity (ir) in postmortem hippocampal tissue of an elderly cohort of 9 well-characterized depressed patients and 9 control subjects that were pair-wise matched for age, sex, CSF-pH and postmortem delay. Abundant nuclear GR-ir was observed in neurons of the hippocampal Ammon's horn (CA) and dentate gyrus (DG) subregions. GR-ir in the DG correlated positively with age in the depressed but not the control group. Although no significant differences were found in GR-ir between the depressed and control groups, a significant increase in GR-ir was present in depressed females compared to depressed males. Whether this sex difference in hippocampal GR-ir in depression relates to the increased incidence of depression in females awaits further study. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Anxiety and Depression'.
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