Comparison of the Effects of Estradiol and Progesterone on Serotonergic Function

Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 78229-3900, USA.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 01/2012; 71(7):633-41. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.11.023
Source: PubMed


Ovarian hormones may contribute to the vulnerability to depression, as well as to the response to antidepressants (ADs). Previously, we reported that acute systemic treatment with estradiol or progesterone blocked the ability of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluvoxamine, to inhibit serotonin transporter function in ovariectomized rats. In this study, behavioral consequences, as well as receptor mechanisms underlying these hormonal effects, were investigated.
Using the forced swimming test, the acute effect of estradiol and/or progesterone on fluvoxamine's AD-like effects was investigated. Using in vivo chronoamperometry, the effect of local application of estradiol or progesterone into the hippocampus of ovariectomized rats on serotonin (5-HT) clearance, as well as on the ability of fluvoxamine to slow 5-HT clearance, were investigated.
The decreased immobility and increased swimming caused by fluvoxamine in the forced swimming test was blocked in rats treated with estradiol and/or progesterone. Local application of estradiol, but not progesterone, slowed 5-HT clearance and both hormones blocked the ability of fluvoxamine to slow 5-HT clearance. Use of hormone receptor agonists and antagonists, revealed that the effects of estradiol are mediated by activation of membrane, as well as nuclear estrogen receptors (ER). The AD-like effect of estradiol involved ER beta and G-protein coupled receptor 30, whereas its blockade of fluvoxamine's effects was ER alpha-mediated. The effects of progesterone occurred solely by activation of intracellular progesterone receptors.
Targeting of ER beta or G-protein coupled receptor 30 might reveal a strategy to permit beneficial effects of estrogen without its deleterious effect on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor efficacy.

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    • "In other words, if inhibition of the signaling pathways or the interacting receptors did not alter the effects of estradiol mediated via either ERα or ERβ, then the effect on the inhibition on responses elicited by selective agonists for ERα or ERβ was not studied. As we found previously that the effects of E 2 and ER agonists are similar at an early time point (1–10 min) and later time point (40–60 min) (Benmansour et al., 2012), we elected to evaluate effects only at 10 min. "
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    ABSTRACT: Estradiol was found previously to have an antidepressant-like effect and to block the ability of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to have an antidepressant-like effect. The antidepressant-like effect of estradiol was due to estrogen receptor β (ERβ) and/or GPR30 activation, whereas estradiol's blockade of the effect of an SSRI was mediated by ERα. This study focuses on investigating signaling pathways as well as interacting receptors associated with these two effects of estradiol. In vivo chronoamperometry was used to measure serotonin transporter (SERT) function. The effect of local application of estradiol or selective agonists for ERα (PPT) or ERβ (DPN) into the CA3 region of the hippocampus of ovariectomized (OVX) rats on 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) clearance as well as on the ability of fluvoxamine to slow 5-HT clearance was examined after selective blockade of signaling pathways or that of interacting receptors. Estradiol- or DPN-induced slowing of 5-HT clearance mediated by ERβ was blocked after inhibition of MAPK/ERK1/2 but not of PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. This effect also involved interactions with TrkB, and IGF-1 receptors. Estradiol's or PPT's inhibition of the fluvoxamine-induced slowing of 5-HT clearance mediated by ERα, was blocked after inhibition of either MAPK/ERK1/2 or PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. This effect involved interactions with the IGF-1 receptor and with the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1, but not with TrkB. This study illustrates some of the signaling pathways required for the effects of estradiol on SERT function, and particularly shows that ER subtypes elicit different as well as common signaling pathways for their actions.
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    • "Since most regions showed similar SERT asymmetry in male and female control subjects, it seems that assumed differences in adult hormonal levels did not profoundly affect SERT asymmetry. This, however, differs from studies indicating strong effects of sex steroids on serotonin function (Benmansour et al. 2012; Robichaud and Debonnel 2005; Rubinow et al. 1998). However, in the midCC, our data show a rightward asymmetry for MC but not for FC and MtF transsexuals (Fig. 3). "
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    ABSTRACT: The serotonergic system modulates brain functions that are considered to underlie affective states, emotion and cognition. Several lines of evidence point towards a strong lateralization of these mental processes, which indicates similar asymmetries in associated neurotransmitter systems. Here, our aim was to investigate a potential asymmetry of the serotonin transporter distribution using positron emission tomography and the radioligand [(11)C]DASB in vivo. As brain asymmetries may differ between sexes, we further aimed to compare serotonin transporter asymmetry between females, males and male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals whose brains are considered to be partly feminized. Voxel-wise analysis of serotonin transporter binding in all groups showed both strong left and rightward asymmetries in several cortical and subcortical structures including temporal and frontal cortices, anterior cingulate, hippocampus, caudate and thalamus. Further, male controls showed a rightward asymmetry in the midcingulate cortex, which was absent in females and MtF transsexuals. The present data support the notion of a lateralized serotonergic system, which is in line with previous findings of asymmetric serotonin-1A receptor distributions, extracellular serotonin concentrations, serotonin turnover and uptake. The absence of serotonin transporter asymmetry in the midcingulate in MtF transsexuals may be attributed to an absence of brain masculinization in this region.
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