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Physiol Behav. 2010 Feb 9;99(2):169-74. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.09.017. Epub 2009 Oct 3.

Estradiol reduces anxiety- and depression-like behavior of aged female mice.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, The University at Albany-SUNY, Albany, NY 12222, USA.


Beneficial effects of the ovarian steroid, 17beta-estradiol (E(2)), for affective behavior have been reported in young individuals, but less is known about the effects of E(2) among older individuals, and the capacity of older individuals to respond to E(2) following its decline. In the present study, the effects of acute E(2) administration to aged mice for anxiety-like and depression-like behaviors were investigated. Intact female C57BL/6 mice (N=18) that were approximately 24 months old were administered vehicle (sesame oil, n=9) or E(2) (10 microg, n=9) subcutaneously 1h prior to behavioral testing. Mice were tested for anxiety-like behavior (open field, elevated plus maze, mirror chamber, light-dark transition task, Vogel conflict task) and depression-like behavior (forced swim task). To assess the role of general motor behavior and coordination in these aged mice, performance in an activity monitor and rotarod task, and total entries made in tasks (open field, elevated plus maze, light-dark transition task) were determined. Mice administered E(2), compared to vehicle, demonstrated anti-anxiety behavior in the open field, mirror chamber, and light-dark transition task, and anti-depressive-like behavior in the forced swim task. E(2) also tended to have anti-anxiety effects in the elevated plus maze and Vogel task compared to vehicle administration, but these effects did not reach statistical significance. E(2) did not alter motor behavior and/or coordination in the activity monitor, open field, or rotarod tasks. Thus, an acute E(2) regimen produced specific anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, independent of effects on motor behavior, when administered to aged female C57BL/6 mice.

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