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Neuroreport. 1998 Mar 9;9(4):593-7.

Estradiol upregulates Bcl-2 expression in adult brain neurons.

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Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.


Bcl-2, a protein which negatively modulates apoptosis, is up-regulated by estrogen in several tissues. To determine the effect of estradiol on Bcl-2 in the adult brain, its immunoreactive distribution was examined in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of female rats under different endocrine conditions. The number of Bcl-2-immunoreactive neurons was significantly increased (p < 0.001) on the day of estrus compared with proestrus, diestrus and metestrus, was decreased by ovariectomy and showed a dose-response increase after estradiol administration to ovariectomized rats. Progesterone, when injected simultaneously with estradiol, reduced the effect of estradiol. These findings indicate that ovarian hormones regulate Bcl-2 in hypothalamic neurons and suggest that this protein may be involved in the neuroprotective effects of estrogen.

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