Mineralocorticoid receptor overexpression differentially modulates specific phases of spatial and nonspatial memory

Deveroux Ferguson, Robert Sapolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids (GCs) and stress modulate specific phases of information processing. The modulatory affects of GCs on hippocampal function are thought to be mediated by the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). The GR plays a critical role in mediating the impairing effects of GCs on hippocampal function. Conversely, activation of MR facilitates hippocampal function. The high affinity of MR for GCs suggests that the receptor protein levels play a key role in regulating the beneficial effects of MR-mediated gene transcription. Using herpes simplex vectors, we transiently increased MR levels in dentate gyrus granule cells, which in turn enhanced MR signaling. We then examined its effects on spatial and nonspatial memory consolidation and retrieval using the object placement and object recognition task. Additionally, we assessed whether an increased MR signal could block the impairing effects of high GCs on memory retrieval. Rats overexpressing MR displayed an enhancement in the consolidation of nonspatial memory relative to rats expressing green fluorescent protein and suggest the potential for gene transfer techniques for enhancing cognition during stress. Moreover, rats overexpressing MR were spared from the disruptive effects of high GCs on the retrieval of nonspatial memory. Thus, this study illustrates the critical role of MR in mediating the retrieval and consolidation of nonspatial memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8046-8052
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 25 2007


  • Corticosterone
  • Learning and memory
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor
  • Nonspatial memory
  • Spatial memory
  • Viral vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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