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Stress modulation of hippocampal activity – spotlight on the dentate gyrus

Prof. Gal Richter-Levin obtained his PhD in Neurobiology in 1992 at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel, and then has been an HFSP postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK. In 1995 he joined the University of Haifa as a senior lecturer, where he was the founder and head of the Haifa Forum for Brain and Behavior. Since 2006 he is a full professor at both the Sagol Department of Neurobiology and the Department of Psychology. He was the president of the Israeli Society for Biological Psychiatry (2006–8) and then president of the Israel Society for Neuroscience (2015-2017). He is currently a William Evans Fellow at the University of Otago.


Traditionally, research of the hippocampus focused on the hippocampus proper, probably because of the distinctive nature of CA1 and CA3 place cells. The dentate gyrus (DG) was often referred to as a gateway to the hippocampus proper. However, the identification of active neurogenesis specifically within the DG, and its association with memory, stress and mood disorders, has led in recent years to growing interest in DG function.
We previously demonstrated that exposure to stress differentially affects long term potentiation (LTP) and local circuit activity in the DG and CA1. We further found that priming the basolateral amygdala (BLA) differentially affects plasticity in CA1 and the DG in a similar way.
Selective and local alterations of GABAergic functioning within the DG was sufficient to impact emotional behavior and learning under stress with differences between the role of the dorsal and ventral DG. Distinguishing between stress vulnerability and stress resilience indicated that GABAergic functioning in the dorsal DG was associated more with stress resilience while that in the ventral DG with vulnerability to stress.
The results indicate that the dentate gyrus plays a pivotal role in defining the impact of stress on hippocampal functioning. The DG is responsive to stress, but unlike the CA1, it also differentiates between different types of stressful experiences. There are significant differences between the involvement of the dorsal and ventral DG in responding to stress and these differences are likely to contribute to the diverse effects of stress on memory formation.

Date Monday, 26 August 2019
Time 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Audience Public
Event Category Sciences
Event Type Seminar
LocationWilliam James Seminar Room 103, William James Building, 275 Leith Walk, Otago Campus
Contact NameJoanna Ling
Contact Phone+64 3 479 7644

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