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Dev Neurobiol. 2007 Sep 1;67(10):1321-33.

Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, but not estradiol, enhance survival of new hippocampal neurons in adult male rats.

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1
Department of Psychology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4. mspritze@middlebury.edu

Abstract

Past research suggested that androgens may play a role in the regulation of adult neurogenesis within the dentate gyrus. We tested this hypothesis by manipulating androgen levels in male rats. Castrated or sham castrated male rats were injected with 5-Bromo-2'deoxyuridine (BrdU). BrdU-labeled cells in the dentate gryus were visualized and phenotyped (neural or glial) using immunohistochemistry. Castrated males showed a significant decrease in 30-day cell survival within the dentate gyrus but there was no significant change in cell proliferation relative to control males, indicating that androgens positively affect cell survival, but not cell proliferation. To examine the role of testosterone on hippocampal cell survival, males were injected with testosterone s.c. for 30 days starting the day after BrdU injection. Higher doses (0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg) but not a lower dose (0.25 mg/kg) of testosterone resulted in a significant increase in neurogenesis relative to controls. We next tested the role of testosterone's two major metabolites, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estradiol, upon neurogenesis. Thirty days of injections of DHT (0.25 and 0.50 mg/kg) but not estradiol (0.010 and 0.020 mg/kg) resulted in a significant increase in hippocampal neurogenesis. These results suggest that testosterone enhances hippocampal neurogenesis via increased cell survival in the dentate gyrus through an androgen-dependent mechanism.

PMID:
17638384
DOI:
10.1002/dneu.20457
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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