The acquisition and consolidation of memories of stressful events is modulated by glucocorticoids, a type of corticosteroid hormone that is released in high levels from the adrenal glands after exposure to a stressful event. These effects occur through activation of mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). The molecular mechanisms that underlie the effects of glucocorticoids on synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory have recently begun to be identified. Glucocorticoids regulate AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate) receptor trafficking--which is crucially involved in synaptic transmission and plasticity--both rapidly and persistently. Stress hormones may, through modulation of AMPA receptor function, promote the consolidation of behaviourally relevant information.