Contribution of estrogen receptors alpha and beta to the effects of estradiol in the brain

Molecular Endocrinology and Oncology Research Center, Medical Center and Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, 2705 Laurier Boulevard, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada.
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 4.05). 03/2008; 108(3-5):327-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2007.09.011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Clinical and experimental studies show a modulatory role of estrogens in the brain and suggest their beneficial action in mental and neurodegenerative diseases. The estrogen receptors ERalpha and ERbeta are present in the brain and their targeting could bring selectivity and reduced risk of cancer. Implication of ERs in the effect of estradiol on dopamine, opiate and glutamate neurotransmission is reviewed. The ERalpha agonist, PPT, is shown as estradiol to modulate hippocampal NMDA receptors and AMPA receptors in cortex and striatum of ovariectomized rats whereas the ERbeta agonist DPN is inactive. Striatal DPN activity suggests implication of ERbeta in estradiol modulation of D2 receptors and transporters in ovariectomized rats and is supported by the lack of effect of estradiol in ERbeta knockout (ERKObeta) mice. Both ERalpha and ERbeta agonists modulate striatal preproenkephalin (PPE) gene expression in ovariectomized rats. In male mice PPT protects against MPTP toxicity to striatal dopamine; this implicates Akt/GSK3beta signaling and the apoptotic regulators Bcl2 and Bad. This suggests a role for ERalpha in striatal dopamine neuroprotection. ERKOalpha mice are more susceptible to MPTP toxicity and not protected by estradiol; differences in ERKObeta mice are subtler. These results suggest therapeutic potential for the brain of ER specific agonists.

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