AB - Steroids may rapidly alter neuronal function and behavior through poorly characterized, direct actions on neuronal membranes. The membrane-bound receptors mediating these behavioral responses have not been identified. [3H]Corticosterone labels a population of specific, high-affinity recognition sites (dissociation constant = nanomolar) in synaptic membranes from an amphibian brain. These binding sites were localized by receptor autoradiography in the neuropil, ouside the regions of perikarya. The affinities of corticoids for this [3H]corticosterone binding site were linearly related to their potencies in rapidly suppressing male reproductive behavior. Thus, it appears that brain membranes contain a corticosteroid receptor that could participate in the regulation of behavior.
In central nervous system structures, the glucocorticoid receptor is gaining interest as a novel representative of neuroendocrine integration, functioning as a major component of endocrine influence - specifically the stress response - upon the brain. The receptor is now implicated in both short and long-term adaptations seen in response to stressors and may be critical to the understanding of psychological disorders, including some or all subtypes of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ).  Indeed, long-standing observations such as the mood dysregulations typical of Cushing's disease demonstrate the role of corticosteroids in regulating psychologic state; recent advances have demonstrated interactions with norepinephrine and serotonin at the neural level.