Chronic stress, hippocampus and parvalbumin-positive interneurons: what do we know so far?
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The hippocampus is a brain structure involved in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and stress response. It plays an important role in the formation of declarative, spatial and contextual memory, as well as in the processing of emotional information. As a part of the limbic system, it is a very susceptible structure towards the effects of various stressors. The molecular mechanisms of structural and functional alternations that occur in the hippocampus under chronic stress imply an increased level of circulating glucocorticoids (GCs), which is an HPA axis response to stress. Certain data show that changes induced by chronic stress may be independent from the GCs levels, opening the possibility of existence of other poorly explored mechanisms and pathways through which stressors act. The hippocampal GABAergic parvalbumin-positive (PV+) interneurons represent an especially vulnerable population of neurons in chronic stress, which may be of key importance in the d...evelopment of mood disorders. However, cellular and molecular hippocampal changes that arise as a consequence of chronic stress still represent a large and unexplored area. This review discusses the current knowledge about the PV+ interneurons of the hippocampus and the influence of chronic stress on this intriguing population of neurons.