Sex differences in and effects of estrogen on oxytocin receptor messenger ribonucleic acid expression in the ventromedial hypothalamus

T. L. Bale, Daniel Dorsa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In situ hybridization techniques were used in the present study to detect hypothalamic expression of the oxytocin receptor (OR) gene. Binding studies have localized OR to various brain regions and have detected a high density of receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a documented target of estrogen action. This study was designed to compare levels of OR messenger RNA (mRNA) in the VMH of male and female rats and to study the effects of estrogen treatment on mRNA levels in the VMH of female rats. After cloning a rat OR gene from a genomic testes library, a probe was generated for use in in situ hybridization assays to evaluate sex differences in OR mRNA expression in the VMH. In addition, ovariectomized females were treated with estrogen, and VMH OR mRNA expression was compared with that in ovariectomized or intact females. The results of these studies showed that male rats expressed higher levels of OR mRNA in the VMH than females. Estrogen-treated ovariectomized females exhibited significantly greater expression in the VMH than either oil-treated or intact females. These results support binding studies that have shown oxytocin binding in the VMH to be regulated by gonadal steroids and suggest that estrogen may either directly or indirectly regulate transcription of the OR gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalEndocrinology
Volume136
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Oxytocin Receptors
Sex Characteristics
Hypothalamus
Estrogens
RNA
Messenger RNA
In Situ Hybridization
Genes
Genomic Library
Oxytocin
Testis
Organism Cloning
Oils
Steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

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title = "Sex differences in and effects of estrogen on oxytocin receptor messenger ribonucleic acid expression in the ventromedial hypothalamus",
abstract = "In situ hybridization techniques were used in the present study to detect hypothalamic expression of the oxytocin receptor (OR) gene. Binding studies have localized OR to various brain regions and have detected a high density of receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a documented target of estrogen action. This study was designed to compare levels of OR messenger RNA (mRNA) in the VMH of male and female rats and to study the effects of estrogen treatment on mRNA levels in the VMH of female rats. After cloning a rat OR gene from a genomic testes library, a probe was generated for use in in situ hybridization assays to evaluate sex differences in OR mRNA expression in the VMH. In addition, ovariectomized females were treated with estrogen, and VMH OR mRNA expression was compared with that in ovariectomized or intact females. The results of these studies showed that male rats expressed higher levels of OR mRNA in the VMH than females. Estrogen-treated ovariectomized females exhibited significantly greater expression in the VMH than either oil-treated or intact females. These results support binding studies that have shown oxytocin binding in the VMH to be regulated by gonadal steroids and suggest that estrogen may either directly or indirectly regulate transcription of the OR gene.",
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AB - In situ hybridization techniques were used in the present study to detect hypothalamic expression of the oxytocin receptor (OR) gene. Binding studies have localized OR to various brain regions and have detected a high density of receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), a documented target of estrogen action. This study was designed to compare levels of OR messenger RNA (mRNA) in the VMH of male and female rats and to study the effects of estrogen treatment on mRNA levels in the VMH of female rats. After cloning a rat OR gene from a genomic testes library, a probe was generated for use in in situ hybridization assays to evaluate sex differences in OR mRNA expression in the VMH. In addition, ovariectomized females were treated with estrogen, and VMH OR mRNA expression was compared with that in ovariectomized or intact females. The results of these studies showed that male rats expressed higher levels of OR mRNA in the VMH than females. Estrogen-treated ovariectomized females exhibited significantly greater expression in the VMH than either oil-treated or intact females. These results support binding studies that have shown oxytocin binding in the VMH to be regulated by gonadal steroids and suggest that estrogen may either directly or indirectly regulate transcription of the OR gene.

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