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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2008, Article ID 194097, 8 pages
Research Article

Exposure to Forced Swim Stress Alters Local Circuit Activity and Plasticity in the Dentate Gyrus of the Hippocampus

1Department of Psychobiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel
2The Brain and Behavior Research Center, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel

Received 21 March 2007; Accepted 3 December 2007

Academic Editor: Bruno Poucet

Copyright © 2008 Orli Yarom 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.


Studies have shown that, depending on its severity and context, stress can affect neural plasticity. Most related studies focused on synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation (LTP) of principle cells. However, evidence suggests that following high-frequency stimulation, which induces LTP in principal cells, modifications also take place at the level of complex interactions with interneurons within the dentate gyrus, that is, at the local circuit level. So far, the possible effects of stress on local circuit activity and plasticity were not studied. Therefore, we set out to examine the possible alterations in local circuit activity and plasticity following exposure to stress. Local circuit activity and plasticity were measured by using frequency dependant inhibition (FDI) and commissural modulation protocols following exposure to a 15 minute-forced swim trial. Exposure to stress did not alter FDI. The application of theta-burst stimulation (TBS) reduced FDI in both control and stressed rats, but this type of plasticity was greater in stressed rats. Commissural-induced inhibition was significantly higher in stressed rats both before and after applying theta-burst stimulation. These findings indicate that the exposure to acute stress affects aspects of local circuit activity and plasticity in the dentate gyrus. It is possible that these alterations underlie some of the behavioral consequences of the stress experience.