Adrenocorticoid receptor binding in the rat hippocampus: strain-dependent covariations with arousal and habituation to novelty

Francesca R. Patacchioli, Giulio Taglialatela, Luciano Angelucci, Antonio Cerbone, Adolfo G. Sadile

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In order to investigate whether the genotype-dependent behaviour of the Naples high-(NHE) and low-excitability (NLE) rat strains was modulated by differences in the capacity of hippocampal adrenocorticoid receptors, a correlative analysis was made among behavioural scores from exposure to a Làt-maze and in vitro +3H-corticosterone hippocampal binding capacity in these rats and in their random-bred controls (NRB). As previously shown, NHE/NLE-rats differed markedly upon forced exposure to the maze, with the NRB group occupying an intermediate position. No differences were found in maximal binding capacity (Bmax) and dissociation constant (Kd), nor in the individual maximal binding capacity (IMBC) between the two strains, while both showed lower IMBC than NRB-rats. These results tend to exclude that the genetic differences in the behaviour of NHE/NLE-rats are due to distinct patterns in the adrenocorticoid binding capacity in the hippocampus (HPC). Moreover, the intrastrain correlative analysis among IMBC (in the whole HPC and in its dorsal and ventral portion) and the behavioural scores showed that (1) motor and emotional correlates of 'arousal' to novelty were positively correlated in NLE and negatively in NHE-, but not in NRB-rats; (2) a consistent correlation was found with the intertrial activity decrement (long-term habituation), which was negative in both strains, and it was positive in NRB-rats. These complex co-variations are envisioned as possibly due to the differential modulatory components of the activation and inhibition of novelty-induced arousal response. However, our findings support the hypothesized involvement of the HPC, where adrenocorticoid receptors are selectively concentrated, in the modulation of some adaptive behavioural responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenocorticoid receptor
  • Behavioural habituation
  • Hippocampal +H-corticosterone binding
  • Hippocampal function
  • Làt-maze
  • Naples high-excitability rat strain
  • Naples low-excitability rat strain
  • Reactivity to novel environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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