Aromatase distribution in the monkey temporal neocortex and hippocampus

Josue G. Yague, Athena Ching Jung Wang, William G M Janssen, Patrick R. Hof, Luis M. Garcia-Segura, Iñigo Azcoitia, John Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have shown that neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus and neocortex is regulated by estrogen and that aromatase, the key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis, is present in cerebral cortex. Although the expression pattern of aromatase mRNA has been described in the monkey brain, its precise cellular distribution has not been determined. In addition, the degree to which neuronal aromatase is affected by gonadal estrogen has not been investigated. In this study, we examined the immunohistochemical distribution of aromatase in young ovariectomized female rhesus monkeys with or without long-term cyclic estradiol treatment. Both experimental groups showed that aromatase is localized in a large population of CA1-3 pyramidal cells, in granule cells of the dentate gyrus and in some interneurons in which it was co-expressed with the calcium-binding proteins calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin. Moreover, numerous pyramidal cells were immunoreactive for aromatase in the neocortex, whereas only small subpopulations of neocortical interneurons were immunoreactive for aromatase. The widespread expression of the protein in a large neuronal population suggests that local intraneuroral estrogen synthesis may contribute to estrogen-induced synaptic plasticity in monkey hippocampus and neocortex of female rhesus monkeys. In addition, the apparent absence of obvious differences in aromatase distribution between the two experimental groups suggests that these localization patterns are not dependent on plasma estradiol levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - May 13 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aromatase
  • Estrogen
  • Hippocampus
  • Interneuron
  • Neocortex
  • Pyramidal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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