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Life Sci. 2006 Sep 13;79(16):1553-60. Epub 2006 May 6.

Effects of estradiol benzoate on learning-memory behavior and synaptic structure in ovariectomized mice.

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  • 1College of Chemistry and Life Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China. xuxh63@zjnu.cn <xuxh63@zjnu.cn>


There is increasing evidence that estrogen is involved in CNS activity, particularly memory. Several studies have suggested that estrogen improves memory by altering neuronal plasticity, including increased hippocampus CA1 dendritic spine density and enhanced long-term potentiation (LTP). In the present study, we investigated the effects of estrogen on the ultrastructural modifications in cerebral frontal cortex and hippocampus of female ovariectomized mice. One week after ovariectomy (Ovx), ICR female mice received daily injection of estradiol benzoate (EB, 20, 100, 200 microg/kg, s.c.) for 4-5 weeks. Spatial memory was then tested in the water maze, and the overall locomotor activity was monitored in open field. Synaptic morphologic parameters were examined using a graph analyzer. The results from open field did not show any alterations in locomotor activity following Ovx and EB replacement. Both the latency to find the platform and the distance to reach the platform were significantly reduced in Ovx mice by EB at 20 or 100 microg/kg when compared to vehicle treated Ovx mice. The results from synaptic ultrastructural measurement and analysis did not show any differences in hemispheric or hippocampal volumes, the numeric synaptic density, the length of active zones, or the curvature of synaptic interface among Sham, Ovx, and Ovx plus EB replacement mice. However, EB replacement effectively normalized the changes induced by Ovx, reducing the width of the synaptic cleft, enlarging the thickness of postsynaptic density (PSD), and increasing the number of synaptic vesicles in the presynapse in both cerebral cortex Fr1 and hippocampus CA1 areas. These results suggest that the beneficial effects of EB on improving memory behavior of Ovx female mice are associated with the changes of some subtle structural parameters of synapses, including the width of PSD and synaptic cleft rather than some basic and permanent structure in frontal cortex and hippocampus regions.

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