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J Neurosci. 2013 Feb 6;33(6):2338-55. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3857-12.2013.

Testosterone depletion in adult male rats increases mossy fiber transmission, LTP, and sprouting in area CA3 of hippocampus.

Author information

1
Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Center of Dementia Research, Orangeburg, New York 10962, USA.

Abstract

Androgens have dramatic effects on neuronal structure and function in hippocampus. However, androgen depletion does not always lead to hippocampal impairment. To address this apparent paradox, we evaluated the hippocampus of adult male rats after gonadectomy (Gdx) or sham surgery. Surprisingly, Gdx rats showed increased synaptic transmission and long-term potentiation of the mossy fiber (MF) pathway. Gdx rats also exhibited increased excitability and MF sprouting. We then addressed the possible underlying mechanisms and found that Gdx induced a long-lasting upregulation of MF BDNF immunoreactivity. Antagonism of Trk receptors, which bind neurotrophins, such as BDNF, reversed the increase in MF transmission, excitability, and long-term potentiation in Gdx rats, but there were no effects of Trk antagonism in sham controls. To determine which androgens were responsible, the effects of testosterone metabolites DHT and 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol were examined. Exposure of slices to 50 nm DHT decreased the effects of Gdx on MF transmission, but 50 nm 5α-androstane-3α,17β-diol had no effect. Remarkably, there was no effect of DHT in control males. The data suggest that a Trk- and androgen receptor-sensitive form of MF transmission and synaptic plasticity emerges after Gdx. We suggest that androgens may normally be important in area CA3 to prevent hyperexcitability and aberrant axon outgrowth but limit MF synaptic transmission and some forms of plasticity. The results also suggest a potential explanation for the maintenance of hippocampal-dependent cognitive function after androgen depletion: a reduction in androgens may lead to compensatory upregulation of MF transmission and plasticity.

PMID:
23392664
PMCID:
PMC3711621
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3857-12.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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