Differential effect of amphetamine on c-fos expression in female aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice compared to wildtype controls

Carolina Chavez, Andrea Gogos, Rachel Hill, Michelle L Van Sinderen, Evan R Simpson, Wah Chin Boon, Maarten van den Buuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Estrogen may be involved in psychosis by an interaction with central dopaminergic activity. Aromatase knockout mice are unable to produce estrogen and have been shown to display altered behavioural responses and effects of the dopamine releaser, amphetamine. This study investigates the effect of gonadal status on amphetamine-induced c-fos expression in the brains of female aromatase knockout and wildtype mice. Six groups of mice were treated intraperitoneally with saline or 5mg/kg amphetamine. Fos immunoreactivity was assessed in the cingulate cortex, caudate putamen and nucleus accumbens. Aromatase knockout mice showed markedly reduced amphetamine-induced Fos immunoreactivity compared to wildtype mice. However, the amphetamine response was restored in aromatase-knockout mice after ovariectomy, which reduced this effect in wildtype controls. Estrogen supplementation reversed the effect of ovariectomy in wildtype mice but had no additional significant effect in aromatase-knockout mice. These results indicate that mechanisms involved in amphetamine-induced c-fos expression are altered in aromatase knockout mice and that the primary hormone involved in this effect is not estrogen, but may be another factor released from the ovaries, such as an androgen. These results provide new insight into the effect of gonadal hormones on amphetamine induced c-fos expression in this mouse model of estrogen deficiency. These results could be important for our understanding of the role of sex steroid hormones in psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761 - 768
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this