Investigating the Interactive Effects of Sex Steroid Hormones and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor during Adolescence on Hippocampal NMDA Receptor Expression

Cushla R. McCarthny, Xin Du, Yeewen Candace Wu, Rachel A. Hill

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Sex steroid hormones have neuroprotective properties which may be mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This study sought to determine the interactive effects of preadolescent hormone manipulation and BDNF heterozygosity (+/-) on hippocampal NMDA-R expression. Wild-type and BDNF+/- mice were gonadectomised, and females received either 17β-estradiol or progesterone treatment, while males received either testosterone or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treatment. Dorsal (DHP) and ventral hippocampus (VHP) were dissected, and protein expression of GluN1, GluN2A, GluN2B, and PSD-95 was assessed by Western blot analysis. Significant genotype × OVX interactions were found for GluN1 and GluN2 expression within the DHP of female mice, suggesting modulation of select NMDA-R levels by female sex hormones is mediated by BDNF. Furthermore, within the DHP BDNF+/- mice show a hypersensitive response to hormone treatment on GluN2 expression which may result from upstream alterations in TrkB phosphorylation. In contrast to the DHP, the VHP showed no effects of hormone manipulation but significant effects of genotype on NMDA-R expression. Castration had no effect on NMDA-R expression; however, androgen treatment had selective effects on GluN2B. These data show case distinct, interactive roles for sex steroid hormones and BDNF in the regulation of NMDA-R expression that are dependent on dorsal versus ventral hippocampal region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7231915
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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