Stroke increases g protein-coupled estrogen receptor expression in the brain of male but not female mice
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The novel estrogen receptor, G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER, previously named GPR30), is widely distributed throughout the male and female brain and, thus, could potentially play a role in estrogen-mediated neuroprotective effects in diseases such as stroke. We hypothesized that GPER distribution and expression in the brain of male, intact female, and ovariectomized (OVX) mice is increased after 0.5 h middle cerebral artery occlusion. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that ischemia reperfusion increased GPER distribution in the peri-infarct brain regions of male mice, but surprisingly not in intact females or OVX mice. Similar differences were observed in the male and female human brain after stroke. In contrast, GPER distribution was decreased in the infarct core of all mice examined. Furthermore, GPER immunofluorescence was co-localized with the endothelial cell marker, von Willebrand factor, and the neuronal marker, NeuN. Consistent with the immunohistochemical findings, Western blot analysis showed GPER expression is only elevated in the ischemic hemisphere of male mice. Moreover, GPER mRNA expression in males was elevated at 4 h but had returned to baseline by 24 h. In conclusion, these findings indicate that GPER may be a potential therapeutic target after stroke, especially in males, in whom estrogen therapy is not feasible.