Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 2004;123(2):515-26.

Effects of estrone on N-methyl-D-aspartic acid- and staurosporine-induced changes in caspase-3-like protease activity and lactate dehydrogenase-release: time- and tissue-dependent effects in neuronal primary cultures.

Author information

Department of Endocrinology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Smetna 12, 31-343 Krakow, Poland.


A growing body of evidence indicates that estrogens affect apoptotic processes in neuronal cells. However, their effects seem to depend on type of neuronal tissue, stage of development and apoptosis inducing factors. In the present study we compared effects of estrone (100 and 500 nM) on N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) (1 mM)- and staurosporine (1 microM)-induced caspase-3-like activity and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)-release in primary cultures of rat hippocampal and neocortical neurons. Fluorometric and colorimetric determination of enzyme activity was performed 6 h, 14 h, and 24 h after exposure to apoptotic agents. In the hippocampal cell cultures on 7 days in vitro (DIV), a time-dependent NMDA-induced activation of caspase-3-like proteases was accompanied by increased LDH-release. In neocortical cell cultures on 7 DIV NMDA did not affect caspase activity and decreased LDH-release. In neocortical cell cultures on 12 DIV NMDA inhibited spontaneous caspase activity, but was toxic to neurons after 24 h exposure suggesting that these cells underwent necrotic rather than apoptotic death. Estrone has attenuated both pro- and anti-apoptotic NMDA-induced changes in rat primary neuronal cultures acting independently of estrogen receptors, as detected with ICI 182, 780. In hippocampal neurons estrone antagonized not only the NMDA-induced caspase-3-like activity, but also NMDA-mediated LDH-release. However, in neocortical neurons estrone either attenuated NMDA-induced inhibition of caspase-3-like activity (12 DIV) or partly blocked NMDA-mediated decrease in LDH-release (7 DIV). In contrast to NMDA, staurosporine elevated caspase-3-like activity and LDH-release in a time-dependent manner in all used culture systems. Estrone inhibited pro-apoptotic effects of staurosporine in neocortical neurons, but only at later stage of development in vitro, which points to the protective role of estrogens during the brain tissue maturation. Since estrone triggered its effects via non-genomic mechanisms, it suggests that the other estradiol metabolites exhibiting low affinity to hormone receptors may be potent neuroprotective agents, which could retain the favorable and minimize the adverse side effects of estrogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center