Vol. 5 nº 1 - Jan/Feb/Mar de 2011
Views & Reviews Páginas: 8 a 16

Effects of stress hormones on the brain and cognition Evidence from normal to pathological aging

Authors Juliana Nery de Souza-Talarico1; Marie-France Marin2; Shireen Sindi3; Sonia J. Lupien4


keywords: glucocorticoids, memory, aging, Alzheimer's disease.

Several studies have demonstrated a wide cognitive variability among aged individuals. One factor thought to be associated with this heterogeneity is exposure to chronic stress throughout life. Animal and human evidence demonstrates that glucocorticoids (GCs), the main class of stress hormones, are strongly linked to memory performance whereby elevated GC levels are associated with memory performance decline in both normal and pathological cognitive aging. Accordingly, it is believed that GCs may increase the brain's vulnerability to the effects of internal and external insults, and thus may play a role in the development of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of this review article was to investigate the effects of GCs on normal and pathological cognitive aging by showing how these hormones interact with different brain structures involved in cognitive abilities, subsequently worsen memory performance, and increase the risk for developing dementia.


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