The specificity of the response of preoptic-septal area neurons to estrogen: 17α-estradiol versus 17β-estradiol and the response of extrahypothalamic neurons

M. J. Kelly, R. L. Moss, C. A. Dudley, C. P. Fawcett

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The purpose of this study was to determine the specificity of the response of medial preoptic-septal neurons (mPOA-S) to microelectrophoresed 17β-estradiol hemisuccinate (17βE2S). In vitro studies were conducted initially to determine the release of the labeled 17βE2S from multibarrel glass micropipettes. Subsequently, an isomer of 17βE2S, 17α-estradiol hemisuccinate (17αE2S), was synthesized and purified. Thirty-six mPOA-S neurons from normal cycling female rats were tested with both 17βE2S and 17αE2S. Twelve of these units responded with inhibition to 17βE2S, while none responded to 17αE2S. Furthermore, fifty extrahypothalamic (cortical, hippocampal, thalamic) neurons were tested with 17βE2S. The majority (N = 45) showed no response, three showed excitation and two inhibition to the microelectrophoresed steroid ester. These findings suggest that a specific receptor mechanism is responsible for the changes in mPOA-S unit activity, and that these effects may be important in the regulation of reproductive events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1977



  • Estradiol
  • Extrahypothalamic neurons
  • Preoptic area
  • Stereospecificity
  • Transport number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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