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Endocrinology

Estrogen-negative feedback and estrous cyclicity are critically dependent upon estrogen receptor-α expression in the arcuate nucleus of adult female mice.


PMID 24905671

Abstract

The location and characteristics of cells within the brain that suppress GnRH neuron activity to contribute to the estrogen-negative feedback mechanism are poorly understood. Using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated Cre-LoxP recombination in estrogen receptor-α (ERα) floxed mice (ERα(flox/flox)), we aimed to examine the role of ERα-expressing neurons located in the arcuate nucleus (ARN) in the estrogen-negative feedback mechanism. Bilateral injection of AAV-Cre into the ARN of ERα(flox/flox) mice (n = 14) resulted in the time-dependent ablation of up to 99% of ERα-immunoreactive cell numbers throughout the rostrocaudal length of the ARN. These mice were all acyclic by 5 weeks after AAV-Cre injections with most mice in constant estrous. Control wild-type mice injected with AAV-Cre (n = 13) were normal. Body weight was not altered in ERα(flox/flox) mice. After ovariectomy, a significant increment in LH secretion was observed in all genotypes, although its magnitude was reduced in ERα(flox/flox) mice. Acute and chronic estrogen-negative feedback were assessed by administering 17β-estradiol to mice as a bolus (LH measured 3 h later) or SILASTIC brand capsule implant (LH measured 5 d later). This demonstrated that chronic estrogen feedback was absent in ERα(flox/flox) mice, whereas the acute feedback was normal. These results reveal a critical role for ERα-expressing cells within the ARN in both estrous cyclicity and the chronic estrogen negative feedback mechanism in female mice. This suggests that ARN cells provide a key indirect, transsynpatic route through which estradiol suppresses the activity of GnRH neurons.