Although chronic 17β-estradiol (E2) has been shown to be a cognition-preserving and neuroprotective agent in animal brain injury models, concern regarding its safety was raised by the failed translation of this phenomenon to the clinic. Previously, we demonstrated that a single bolus of E2 48 hr prior to ischemia protected the hippocampus from damage in ovariectomized rats via phosphorylation of cyclic-AMP response element binding protein, which requires activation of estrogen receptor subtype beta (ER-β). The current study tests the hypothesis that long-term periodic E2-treatment improves cognition and reduces post-ischemic hippocampal injury by means of ER-β activation. Ovariectomized rats were given ten injections of E2 at 48 hr intervals for 21 days. Hippocampal-dependent learning, memory and ischemic neuronal loss were monitored. Results demonstrated that periodic E2 treatments improved spatial learning, memory and ischemic neuronal survival in ovariectomized rats. Additionally, periodic ER-β agonist treatments every 48 hr improved post-ischemic cognition. Silencing of hippocampal ER-β attenuated E2-mediated ischemic protection suggesting that ER-β plays a key role in mediating the beneficial effects of periodic E2 treatments. This study emphasizes the need to investigate a periodic estrogen replacement regimen to reduce cognitive decline and cerebral ischemia incidents/impact in post-menopausal women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)