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Neuroendocrinology. 2004;80(5):308-23. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Estrogen and ovariectomy regulate mRNA and protein of glutamic acid decarboxylases and cation-chloride cotransporters in the adult rat hippocampus.

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Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


17beta-Estradiol spatiotemporally regulates the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) tone in the adult hippocampus. However, the complex estrogenic effect on the GABAergic system is still unclear. In adult central nervous system (CNS) neurons, GABA can induce both inhibitory and excitatory actions, which are predominantly controlled by the cation-chloride cotransporters NKCC1 and KCC2. We therefore studied the estrogenic regulation of two glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) isoforms, GAD65 and GAD67, as well as NKCC1 and KCC2 in the adult female rat hippocampus by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. First, we focused on the duration after ovariectomy (OVX) and its effects on GAD65 protein levels. The basal number of GAD65-immunoreactive cells decreased after long-term (10 days) OVX compared to short-term (3 days) OVX. We found that, only after long-term OVX but not after short-term OVX, estradiol increased the number of GAD65-immunoreactive cells in the CA1 pyramidal cell layer. Furthermore, estradiol did not alter the GAD65-immunoreactive cell population in any other CA1 subregion. Second, we therefore focused on long-term OVX and the estrogenic regulation of GAD and cation-chloride cotransporter mRNA levels. In the pyramidal cell layer, estradiol affected GAD65, GAD67 and NKCC1 mRNA levels, but not KCC2 mRNA levels. Both GAD65 and NKCC1 mRNA levels increased within 24 h after estradiol treatment, followed by a subsequent increase in GAD67 mRNA levels. These findings suggest that basal levels of estrogen might contribute to a balance between the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission onto CA1 pyramidal cells by regulating perisomatic GAD and NKCC1 expression in the adult hippocampus.

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