Periodic treatments with estrogen receptor subtype-β (ER-β) agonist reduce post-ischemic hippocampal injury in ovariectomized rats. However, the underlying mechanism of how ER-β agonists protect the brain remains unknown. Global cerebral ischemia activates the innate immune response, and a key component of the innate immune response is the inflammasome. This study tests the hypothesis that ER-β regulates inflammasome activation in the hippocampus, thus reducing ischemic hippocampal damage in reproductively senescent female rats that received periodic ER-β agonist treatments. First, we determined the effect of hippocampal ER-β silencing on the expression of the inflammasome proteins caspase 1, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC), and interleukin (IL)-1β. Silencing of ER-β attenuated 17β-estradiol mediated decrease in caspase 1, ASC, and IL-1β. Next, we tested the hypothesis that periodic ER-β agonist treatment reduces inflammasome activation and ischemic damage in reproductively senescent female rats. Periodic ER-β agonist treatments significantly decreased inflammasome activation and increased post-ischemic live neuronal counts by 32% (p < 0.05) as compared to the vehicle-treated, reproductively senescent rats. Current findings demonstrated that ER-β activation regulates inflammasome activation and protects the brain from global ischemic damage in reproductively senescent female rats. Further investigation on the role of a periodic ER-β agonist regimen to reduce the innate immune response in the brain could help reduce the incidence and the impact of global cerebral ischemia in post-menopausal women.
- NOD-like receptor
- cerebral ischemia
- interleukin 1beta
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience