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Effects of basal forebrain cholinergic lesions and estradiol on relative levels of estrogen receptor mRNAs in the rat forebrain

Hammond R, Shinde A, Gibbs RB (2010) Effects of basal forebrain cholinergic lesions and estradiol on relative levels of estrogen receptor mRNAs in the rat forebrain. Neuroscience 2010 Abstracts 611.16/MMM67. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: Beneficial effects of estradiol on cognitive performance are lost in response to cholinergic denervation of the hippocampus and frontal cortex. Effects of estradiol also decline with age and time following the loss of ovarian function, which parallels naturally-occurring declines in basal forebrain cholinergic function. We hypothesize that cholinergic impairment may alter the expression of estrogen receptors in specific regions of the brain, thereby decreasing estradiol effects. In the present study, quantitative RT-PCR was used to evaluate the effects of septal cholinergic lesions ± estradiol treatment on relative levels of three estrogen receptors, ERα, ERß, and GPR30. Young adult ovariectomized (OVX) rats received intraseptal injections of saline or 192 IgG-saporin (a selective cholinergic immunotoxin). One week later, rats received either silastic capsules containing 17ß-estradiol or a blank capsule, implanted s.c. Seven days later, rats were killed and the brains were dissected. Tissues from the hippocampus, frontal cortex, prefrontal cortex, striatum, and septum were collected. RNA was extracted and relative levels of ER mRNA determined. Levels within each sample were normalized to levels of GAPDH. Differences between treatments and controls were calculated using the ΔΔCt method. Preliminary data indicate that septal cholinergic lesions produced significant decreases in relative levels of ERα and ERß mRNA in the hippocampus, and an increase in ERß mRNA in the frontal cortex. Estradiol alone produced decreases in levels of ERα, ERß, and GPR30 mRNA in the frontal cortex, decreased levels of ERα and ERß mRNA in the septum, and increased levels of ERα mRNA in the striatum. In rats with cholinergic lesions that also received estradiol, decreased levels of ERα mRNA were detected in hippocampus and septum, and decreased levels of ERß mRNA also were detected in septum. Data suggest that some of the effects of cholinergic denervation on ER mRNA expression may be mitigated by estradiol treatment. These data show that cholinergic lesions significantly affect ER mRNA expression in the brain, and that effects are region-specific. Such effects could account for the loss of beneficial effects of estradiol on cognitive performance in association with age and time following menopause, as well as in association with specific neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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