Yanabolic-Androgenic Steroids Decrease Dendritic Spine Density In The Nucleus Accumbens Of Male Rats
2016 (English)In: Neuroscience, ISSN 0306-4522, E-ISSN 1873-7544, Vol. 330, 72-78 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Recent studies have demonstrated that anabolicandrogenic steroids (AAS) modify cognitive processes such as decision making and behavioral flexibility. However, the neural mechanisms underlying these AAS-induced cognitive changes remain poorly understood. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system, particularly the nucleus accumbens (Acb), is important for reward, motivated behavior, and higher cognitive processes such as decision making. Therefore, AAS-induced plasticity in the DA system is a potential structural substrate for the observed cognitive alterations. High doses of testosterone (the most commonly-used AAS) increase dendritic spine density in limbic regions including the amygdala and hippocampus. However, effects on Acb are unknown. This was the focus of the present study. Adolescent male Long-Evans rats were treated chronically for 8 weeks with high-dose testosterone (7.5 mg/kg in water with 13% cyclodextrin) or vehicle sc. Brains were stained by Golgi-Cox to analyze neuronal morphology in medium spiny neurons of the shell region of Acb (AcbSh). Eight weeks of testosterone treatment significantly decreased spine density in AcbSh compared to brains of vehicle-treated rats (F-1,F-14= 5.455, p < 0.05). Testosterone did not significantly affect total spine number, dendritic length, or arborization measured by Sholl analysis. These results show that AAS alter neuronal morphology in AcbSh by decreasing spine density throughout the dendritic tree, and provides a potential mechanism for AAS to modify cognition and decision-making behavior.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 330, 72-78 p.
anabolic agents, testosterone, nucleus accumbens, dendritic spine density, medium spiny neurons
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-299828DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.05.045ISI: 000378523400008PubMedID: 27238893OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-299828DiVA: diva2:950303