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Role for the membrane estrogen receptor alpha in the sexual differentiation of the brain.

The European journal of neuroscience (2019-12-14)
Badr Khbouz, Catherine de Bournonville, Lucas Court, Mélanie Taziaux, Rebeca Corona, Jean-François Arnal, Françoise Lenfant, Charlotte A Cornil
ABSTRACT

Estrogens exert pleiotropic effects on multiple physiological and behavioral responses. Male and female sexual behavior in rodents constitutes some of the best-characterized responses activated by estrogens in adulthood and largely depend on ERα. Evidence exists that nucleus- and membrane-initiated estrogen signaling cooperate to orchestrate the activation of these behaviors both in short- and long-term. However, questions remain regarding the mechanism(s) and receptor(s) involved in the early brain programming during development to organize the circuits underlying sexually differentiated responses. Taking advantage of a mouse model harboring a mutation of the ERα palmitoylation site, which prevents membrane ERα signaling (mERα; ERα-C451A), this study investigated the role of mERα on the expression of male and female sexual behavior and neuronal populations that differ between sexes. The results revealed no genotype effect on the expression of female sexual behavior, while male sexual behavior was significantly reduced, but not abolished, in males homozygous for the mutation. Similarly, the number of kisspeptin- (Kp-ir) and calbindin-immunoreactive (Cb-ir) neurons in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPv) and the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA), respectively, were not different between genotypes in females. In contrast, homozygous males showed increased numbers of Kp-ir and decreased numbers of Cb-ir neurons compared to wild-types, thus leading to an intermediate phenotype between females and wild-type males. Importantly, females neonatally treated with estrogens exhibited the same neurochemical phenotype as their corresponding genotype among males. Together, these data provide evidence that mERα is involved in the perinatal programming of the male brain.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Monoclonal Anti-Calbindin-D-28K antibody produced in mouse, clone CB-955, ascites fluid
Sigma-Aldrich
β-Estradiol 3-benzoate, ≥97%