The Effects of Surgical Stress on Hippocampal and Medial Prefrontal Dendritic Morphology.
Surgical stress can have profound effects on hippocampal and medial prefrontal cortex structure and function. Our laboratory demonstrated that sham-orchidectomy causes atrophy of CA3 apical dendrites while testosterone replacement partially restores CA3 apical dendrites. However, the lasting effects of surgery and the factors contributing to surgical stress remained unclear. This thesis demonstrates that the remodelling of hippocampal and mPFC apical dendrites following surgery persist for up to 2-months. While the anesthesia does not appear to be contributing to these effects, they may be in part due to glucocorticoid action as prolonged dexamethasone exposure produces similar dendritic remodelling as surgery. This indicates a potential contribution of sustained glucocorticoids during the recovery period. The use of a surgical approach with minimal post-operative complications did not produce the same atrophy of hippocampal and mPFC dendrites. These findings reveal some of the contributors to surgery and post-operative recovery on hippocampal and mPFC dendritic morphology.