The gonadal steroid estrogen is a pleiotropic hormone that has multiple effects on numerous cellular functions. One of estrogen's major targets is the brain, where the steroid not only affects growth, differentiation, and survival of neurons, but also regulates cell excitability. Because estrogen modulates multiple, overlapping signaling pathways, it has been difficult to scrutinize the transcriptional activity of the steroid. Therefore, we still lack a global picture of how different genes interact and are regulated by estrogen. Herein we report the use of suppression subtractive hybridization followed by custom microarray analysis of thousands of genes that are differentially expressed during the negative feedback phase of the female reproductive cycle. We have found a number of key transcripts that are regulated by estrogen and contribute to the alteration in synaptic transmission and hence excitability of hypothalamic neurons (e.g., GABA neurons). These include gec-1, GABA BR2, PI3 kinase subunit p55γ, and a number of proteins containing pleckstrin homology domains that are critical for plasma membrane targeting. Studies are underway to refine our analysis to individual nuclei and individual cells. However, what has emerged from this highly sensitive microarray analysis is that estrogen affects neuronal plasticity in hypothalamic neurons not only by transcription of new membrane proteins (e.g., receptors and channels), but also by altering expression of downstream signaling molecules and proteins involved in neurosecretory pathways.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - Jun 2004|
- Guinea pig
- Suppression subtractive hybridization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience