Influence of 17β-estradiol and progesterone on GABAergic gene expression in the arcuate nucleus, amygdala and hippocampus of the rhesus macaque

Nigel C. Noriega, Dominique H. Eghlidi, Vasilios T. Garyfallou, Steven G. Kohama, Sharon G. Kryger, Henryk F. Urbanski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    25 Scopus citations


    Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and the responsiveness of neurons to GABA can be modulated by sex steroids. To better understand how ovarian steroids influence the GABAergic system in the primate brain, we evaluated the expression of genes encoding GABA receptor subunits, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) and a GABA transporter in the brains of female rhesus macaques. Ovariectomized adults were subjected to a hormone replacement paradigm involving either 17β-estradiol (E), or E plus progesterone (E + P). Untreated animals served as controls. Using GeneChip® microarray analysis and real-time RT-PCR (qPCR), we examined gene expression differences within and between the amygdala (AMD), hippocampus (HPC) and arcuate nuclei of the medial basal hypothalamus (MBH). The results from PCR corresponded with results from representative GeneChip® probesets, and showed similar effects of sex steroids on GABA receptor subunit gene expression in the AMD and HPC, and a more pronounced expression than in the MBH. Exposure to E + P attenuated GAD1, GAD2 and SLC32A1 gene expression in the AMD and HPC, but not in the MBH. GABA receptor subunit gene expression was generally higher in the AMD and HPC than in the MBH, with the exception of receptor subunits e{open} and γ2. Taken together, the data demonstrate differential regulation of GABA receptor subunits and GABAergic system components in the MBH compared to the AMD and HPC of rhesus macaques. Elevated e{open} and reduced δ subunit expression in the MBH supports the hypothesis that the hypothalamic GABAergic system is resistant to the modulatory effects of sex steroids.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)28-42
    Number of pages15
    JournalBrain research
    StatePublished - Jan 11 2010



    • GABA receptor
    • Gamma-aminobutyric acid
    • Macaca mulatta
    • Microarray

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience(all)
    • Molecular Biology
    • Clinical Neurology
    • Developmental Biology

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