Cognitive Adaptation under Stress: A Case for the Mineralocorticoid Receptor

Susanne Vogel, Guillén Fernández, Marian Joëls, Lars Schwabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Corticosteroid hormones, released during stressful encounters, have profound and far-reaching effects on cognition. They are often thought to accomplish these effects primarily via glucocorticoid receptors (GR), but recent findings from rodent and human studies argue for an additional, critical role of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in cognitive changes in response to stress. We propose that the MR initiates rapid changes in the recruitment of specific neural systems, inducing a shift towards cognitively less-demanding processing and allowing a quick and adequate response to the situation. In combination with slower and longer-lasting actions mediated by GR, this shift leads to optimal coping with the ongoing stressful event.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-203
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2016


  • stress
  • cortisol
  • mineralocorticoid receptor
  • adaptation
  • cognition
  • memory


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