This review highlights a symposium on stress risk factors and stress susceptibility, presented at the Neurobiology of Stress workshop in Boulder, Colorado, June 2010. This symposium addressed factors linking stress plasticity and reactivity to stress pathology in animal models and in humans. Dr. Jason Radley discussed studies demonstrating prefrontal cortical neuroplasticity and prefrontal control of hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis function in rat, highlighting emerging evidence for a critical role of this region in normal and pathological stress integration. Dr. Mohamed Kabbaj summarized his studies of possible epigenetic mechanisms underlying behavioral differences in rat populations bred for differential stress reactivity. Dr. Lauren Jacobson described studies using a mouse model to explore the diverse actions of antidepressant action in brain, suggesting mechanisms whereby antidepressants may be differentially effective in treating specific depression endophenotypes.