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Age (Dordr). 2013 Jun;35(3):821-37. doi: 10.1007/s11357-012-9415-9. Epub 2012 May 10.

Aging and substitutive hormonal therapy influence in regional and subcellular distribution of ERα in female rat brain.

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Department of Morphology, Cellular Biology Instituto de Neurociencias del Principado de Asturias (INEUROPA), University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.


Estrogens are not only critical for sexual differentiation it is well-known for the role of 17β-estradiol (E2) in the adult brain modulating memory, learning, mood and acts as a neuroprotector. E2 exerts its actions through two classical receptors: estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and estrogen receptor beta (ERβ). The distribution of both receptors changes from one brain area to another, E2 being able to modulate their expression. Among the classical features of aging in humans, we find cognitive impairment, dementia, memory loss, etc. As estrogen levels change with age, especially in females, it is important to know the effects of low E2 levels on ERα distribution; results from previous studies are controversial regarding this issue. In the present work, we have studied the effects of long-term E2 depletion as well as the ones of E2 treatment on ERα brain distribution of ovariectomized rats along aging in the diencephalon and in the telencephalon. We have found that ovariectomy causes downregulation and affects subcellular localization of ERα expression during aging, meanwhile prolonged estrogen treatment produces upregulation and overexpression of the receptor levels. Our results support the idea of the region-specific neuroprotection mechanisms mediated by estradiol.

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