Effect of ovarian hormones on genes promoting dendritic spines in laser-captured serotonin neurons from macaques

C. L. Bethea, A. P. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Dendritic spines are the elementary structural units of neuronal plasticity and the cascades that promote dendritic spine remodeling center on Rho GTPases and downstream effectors of actin dynamics. In a model of hormone replacement therapy, we sought the effect of estradiol (E) and progesterone (P) on gene expression in these cascades in laser-captured serotonin neurons from rhesus macaques with complementary DNA array analysis. Ovariectomized rhesus macaques were treated with either placebo, E or E + P through Silastic implant for 1 month before euthanasia. The midbrain was obtained, sectioned and immunostained for tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH). TPH-positive neurons were laser captured using an Arcturus Laser Dissection Microscope (PixCell II). RNA from laser-captured serotonin neurons (n=2 animals/treatment) was hybridized to Rhesus Affymetrix GeneChips. With EP treatment, there was a significant change in 744 probe sets (analysis of variance, P=0.05), but 10,493 probe sets exhibited a twofold or greater change. Pivotal changes in pathways leading to dendritic spine proliferation and transformation included twofold or greater increases in expression of the Rho GTPases called CDC42, Rac1 and RhoA. In addition, twofold or greater increases occurred in downstream effectors of actin dynamics, including p21-activated kinase (PAK1), Rho-associated coiled-coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK), PIP5K, IRSp53, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP), WASP family Verprolin-homologous protein (WAVE), MLC, cofilin, gelsolin, profilin and three subunits of actin-related protein (ARP2/3). Finally, twofold or greater decreases occurred in CRIPAK, LIMK2 and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). The regulation of RhoA, Rac1, CDC42, ROCK, PIP5k, IRSp53, WASP, WAVE, LIMK2, CRIPAK1, MLCK, ARP2/3 subunit 3, gelsolin, profilin and cofilin was confirmed with nested quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR on laser-captured RNA (n=3 animals/treatment). The data indicate that ovarian steroids target gene expression of the Rho GTPases and pivotal downstream proteins, that in turn would promote dendritic spine proliferation and stabilization on serotonin neurons of the dorsal raphe nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1044
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Affymetrix array
  • dorsal raphe
  • estrogen
  • macaques
  • progesterone
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of ovarian hormones on genes promoting dendritic spines in laser-captured serotonin neurons from macaques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this