Hormones and the Social Brain

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Science  18 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6117, pp. 279-280
DOI: 10.1126/science.1233713

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Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones that function in immune responses, metabolism, development, and a range of behaviors. On pages 332 and 335 in this issue, Barik et al. (1) and Niwa et al. (2), respectively, challenge our understanding of the sites and mechanisms of action of glucocorticoid "stress hormones" in the mammalian brain, revealing surprising neuroanatomical specificity and pointing to the participation of other regulatory factors and cellular interactions, as well as the importance of gene-environment interactions in the effects of glucocorticoids.