Length of postovariectomy interval and age, but not estrogen replacement, regulate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor mRNA levels in the hippocampus of female rats

Michelle M. Adams, Twethida Oung, John Morrison, Andrea C. Gore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Estrogens and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors regulate multiple aspects of morphological and functional plasticity in young animals. For example, estrogens increase spine density in the hippocampus, and NMDA antagonists block these effects. Few studies have examined the effects of age, postovariectomy interval, and duration of estrogen replacement in the hippocampus and more specifically on NMDA receptor subunits. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of short- and long-term estrogen replacement or deprivation on mRNA levels of three NMDA receptor subunits, NR1, NR2A, and NR2B, in the hippocampus of aging female Sprague-Dawley rats. Young (3- to 4-month-old) and middle-aged (12- to 13-month-old) rats were ovariectomized for 1 month and then treated with estrogen or vehicle for either 2 days or 2 weeks. Another set of middle-aged and aged (24-to 25-month-old) animals were ovariectomized for 6 months and treated with estrogen or vehicle for 2 days or 2 weeks. RNase protection assay was used to assess changes in the NMDA receptor subunit mRNA levels. Our results demonstrated significant effects of age and length of ovariectomy on NMDA receptor mRNA levels, with little effect of the estrogen status of the animals on these parameters. The largest effect was seen for the length of the postovariectomy interval, with the results demonstrating that rats with a short-term ovariectomy have substantially higher NMDA receptor subunit mRNA levels than animals with long-term ovariectomy. The most dramatic effects of aging were seen for NR1 and NR2B mRNAs in ventral hippocampus, with large age-related increases. These data suggest that age and duration of ovariectomy impact NMDA receptor mRNA levels in the hippocampus, potentially affecting the stoichiometry and/or function of these receptors. These findings have important implications for postmenopausal or hysterectomy/oophorectomy estrogen depletion and replacement in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-356
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Neurology
Volume170
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Gene expression
  • NMDA
  • Reproductive senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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