Estrogen and aging affect the synaptic distribution of estrogen receptor beta-immunoreactivity in the CA1 region of female rat hippocampus

Elizabeth M. Waters, Murat Yildirim, William G.M. Janssen, W. Y.Wendy Lou, Bruce S. McEwen, John Morrison, Teresa A. Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Estradiol (E) mediates increased synaptogenesis in the hippocampal CA1 stratum radiatum (sr) and enhances memory in young and some aged female rats, depending on dose and age. Young female rats express more estrogen receptor α (ERα) immunolabeling in CA1sr spine synapse complexes than aged rats and ERα regulation is E sensitive in young but not aged rats. The current study examined whether estrogen receptor β (ERβ) expression in spine synapse complexes may be altered by age or E treatment. Young (3-4 months) and aged (22-23 months) female rats were ovariectomized 7 days prior to implantation of silastic capsules containing either vehicle (cholesterol) or E (10% in cholesterol) for 2 days. ERβ immunoreactivity (ir) in CA1sr was quantitatively analyzed using post-embedding electron microscopy. ERβ-ir was more prominent post-synaptically than pre-synaptically and both age and E treatment affected its synaptic distribution. While age decreased the spine synaptic complex localization of ERβ-ir (i.e., within 60 nm of the pre- and post-synaptic membranes), E treatment increased synaptic ERβ in both young and aged rats. In addition, the E treatment, but not age, increased dendritic shaft labeling. This data demonstrates that like ERα the levels of ERβ-ir decrease in CA1 axospinous synapses with age, however, unlike ERα the levels of ERβ-ir increase in these synapses in both young and aged rats in response to E. This suggests that synaptic ERβ may be a more responsive target to E, particularly in aged females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-97
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume1379
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Electron microscopy
  • Estrogen receptor beta
  • Estrogen treatment
  • Hippocampus
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Ovariectomy
  • Rats
  • Synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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