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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 46276, 14 pages
Research Article

Morphology of Pyramidal Neurons in the Rat Prefrontal Cortex: Lateralized Dendritic Remodeling by Chronic Stress

1Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen 37077, Germany
2DFG Research Center Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CMPB), University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
3Department of Neurology, Medical School, University of Göttingen, Göttingen 37073, Germany

Received 29 November 2006; Accepted 13 February 2007

Academic Editor: Michael G. Stewart

Copyright © 2007 Claudia Perez-Cruz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in the stress response. We filled pyramidal neurons in PFC layer III with neurobiotin and analyzed dendrites in rats submitted to chronic restraint stress and in controls. In the right prelimbic cortex (PL) of controls, apical and distal dendrites were longer than in the left PL. Stress reduced the total length of apical dendrites in right PL and abolished the hemispheric difference. In right infralimbic cortex (IL) of controls, proximal apical dendrites were longer than in left IL, and stress eliminated this hemispheric difference. No hemispheric difference was detected in anterior cingulate cortex (ACx) of controls, but stress reduced apical dendritic length in left ACx. These data demonstrate interhemispheric differences in the morphology of pyramidal neurons in PL and IL of control rats and selective effects of stress on the right hemisphere. In contrast, stress reduced dendritic length in the left ACx.