Serotonergic responses to corticosterone and testosterone in the limbic system

Cliff H. Summers, Earl T. Larson, Patrick J. Ronan, Peter M. Hofmann, Aaron J. Emerson, Kenneth J. Renner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids secreted peripherally during stressful events act on central monoaminergic systems. In particular, serotonergic mediation of social behavior, such as aggression and reproduction, may be affected by glucocorticoids. This study was undertaken to determine if systemically administered corticosterone would rapidly affect central monoaminergic activity. Male Anolis carolinensis (N = 8 each group) were injected intraperitoneally with 10 or 100 μg corticosterone, 10 μg testosterone, or saline. Twenty minutes after treatment, brains were rapidly dissected and frozen and then microdissected (punch diameter 300 μm) and analyzed by high- performance liquid chromatography. Serotonergic turnover (estimated by 5- hydroxyindoleacetic acid/serotonin) in the hippocampus and medial amygdala was significantly enhanced by systemic corticosterone. Both of these regions of the brain have been associated with social stress. Testosterone also enhanced turnover in the hippocampus. The effect of corticosterone and testosterone may be to modulate socially induced differences in serotonergic response. Rapid, but short-lived, glucocorticoid stimulation of serotonin release suggests a possible mechanism for mediation of changing social behavioral events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Amygdala
  • Androgen
  • Anolis carolinensis
  • Brain punch
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Hippocampus
  • Lizard
  • Microdissection
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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