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Cell Tissue Res. 1984;235(3):485-9.

Alteration by estrogen of the nucleoli in nerve cells of the rat hypothalamus.


Estrogen is accumulated from the blood by nerve cells in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus and can facilitate female reproductive behavior by acting on this region of the brain. This cell group was examined in ovariectomized female rats, given estrogen or control treatment, by use of light and electron microscopy. A significantly greater portion of the nerve cells in the estrogen-treated animals had protuberances on their nucleolar surfaces, apparent under the light microscope. The fine structure of such protuberances included dense, aggregated material, which is shown to contain DNA by the sodium tungstate staining technique. Because increased numbers of such protuberances were found in nuclei of cells of the experimental group where previous studies demonstrated a significant increase in ultrastructural signs of biosynthetic activity, they may be associated with increased RNA synthesis. Thus, they could indicate, ultrastructurally, increased synthetic rates for RNA in nerve cells through which estrogen promotes reproductive behavior.

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