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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 11;104(37):14813-8. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Differential neuroprotective and antiinflammatory effects of estrogen receptor (ER)alpha and ERbeta ligand treatment.

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1
Multiple Sclerosis Program, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Neuroscience Research Building 1, Room 475D, 635 Charles Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Abstract

Treatment with either estradiol or an estrogen receptor (ER)alpha ligand has been shown to be both antiinflammatory and neuroprotective in a variety of neurological disease models, but whether neuroprotective effects could be observed in the absence of an antiinflammatory effect has remained unknown. Here, we have contrasted effects of treatment with an ERalpha vs. an ERbeta ligand in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the multiple sclerosis model with a known pathogenic role for both inflammation and neurodegeneration. Clinically, ERalpha ligand treatment abrogated disease at the onset and throughout the disease course. In contrast, ERbeta ligand treatment had no effect at disease onset but promoted recovery during the chronic phase of the disease. ERalpha ligand treatment was antiinflammatory in the systemic immune system, whereas ERbeta ligand treatment was not. Also, ERalpha ligand treatment reduced CNS inflammation, whereas ERbeta ligand treatment did not. Interestingly, treatment with either the ERalpha or the ERbeta ligand was neuroprotective, as evidenced by reduced demyelination and preservation of axon numbers in white matter, as well as decreased neuronal abnormalities in gray matter. Thus, by using the ERbeta selective ligand, we have dissociated the antiinflammatory effect from the neuroprotective effect of estrogen treatment and have shown that neuroprotective effects of estrogen treatment do not necessarily depend on antiinflammatory properties. Together, these findings suggest that ERbeta ligand treatment should be explored as a potential neuroprotective strategy in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases, particularly because estrogen-related toxicities such as breast and uterine cancer are mediated through ERalpha.

PMID:
17785421
PMCID:
PMC1976208
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0703783104
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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