Neuropharmacology of glucocorticoids: focus on emotion, cognition and cocaine

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Eur J Pharmacol, Volume 585, Number 2-3, p.473-482 (2008)


0014-2999 (Print)0014-29

DOI Name (links to online publication)



Adrenal Cortex Hormones/physiology; Animals; Behavior/drug effects; Behavior; Animal/drug effects; Cocaine-Related Disorders/*physiopathology/psychology; Cognition/drug effects/*physiology; Emotions/drug effects/*physiology; Glucocorticoids/metabolism/*ph


Hormone pharmacology has been quite interesting in The Netherlands the past century and this contribution is dedicated to the glucocorticoid hormones underlying adaptation to stress. The story starts in 1936 with Tadeus Reichstein and Ernst Laqueur who discovered corticosterone at the time Hans Selye formulated the stress concept. Today highly sophisticated technologies help to unravel the action mechanism of the glucocorticoids from gene to behaviour. In today's concept glucocorticoids coordinate in concert with other stress mediators the initial stress reactions with the management of later adaptations. Glucocorticoids modulate early life programming of stress reactivity and are a significant factor in brain plasticity underlying adaptation, the aging process and vulnerability to disease. Here we focus on the role of glucocorticoids in emotions, cognitive performance and behavioural sensitisation to cocaine.