Progestin receptor expression in the developing rat brain depends upon activation of estrogen receptor α and not estrogen receptor β

Wilson C.J. Chung, Toni R. Pak, Michael J. Weiser, Laura R. Hinds, Melvin E. Andersen, Robert J. Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perinatal 17β-estradiol (E2) rapidly and markedly affects the morphological and neurochemical organization of the vertebrate brain. For instance, the sex difference in perinatal progestin receptor (PR) immunoreactivity in the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN) of the rat brain is due to the intracellular conversion of testosterone into E2 in males. Neonatal α-fetoprotein prevents circulating estrogens from accessing the brain, therefore, to overcome α-fetoprotein sequestration of E2, estrogen replacement studies during development have used natural and synthetic estrogen dosages in the milligram to microgram range. These levels could be considered as supraphysiological. Moreover, it is not clear through which ER subtype E2 acts to induce PR expression in the neonatal rat MPN because E2 binds similarly to estrogen receptor (ER)α and ERβ. Consequently, we investigated whether nanogram levels of E2 affected PR protein and mRNA levels in the neonatal MPN. Furthermore, propylpyrazole-triol (PPT), a highly selective agonist for ERα, and diarylpropionitrile (DPN), a highly selective agonist for ERβ, were used to determine if E2-dependent PR expression in the neonatal rat is mediated through ERα and/or ERβ. Immunocytochemistry and quantitative real-time RT-PCR determined that as little as 100 ng E2 significantly induced PR protein and mRNA in the female and neonatally castrated male MPN on PN 4, indicating that the neonatal rat brain is highly sensitive to circulating estrogens. PPT, but not DPN, induced PR expression in the neonatal MPN and arcuate nucleus (Arc), demonstrating that PR expression in the neonatal rat brain depends solely on E2 activated ERα. In the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTL), neither PPT nor DPN affected PR expression, suggesting the presence of a gonadal hormone-independent PR regulatory mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
Volume1082
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 12 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brain
  • Development
  • Diarylpropionitrile
  • Estrogen
  • Progestin receptor
  • Propylpyrazole-triol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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