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Estrogens and MemoryBasic Research and Clinical Implications$
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Karyn M. Frick

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190645908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190645908.001.0001

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Hippocampal Synaptic Stability and Plasticity

Hippocampal Synaptic Stability and Plasticity

The Role of Hippocampus-Derived Estradiol

Chapter:
(p.83) 6 Hippocampal Synaptic Stability and Plasticity
Source:
Estrogens and Memory
Author(s):

Gabriele M. Rune

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190645908.003.0007

Estradiol synthesis depends on the activity of aromatase, the enzyme that specifically and irreversibly converts testosterone to estradiol in steroidogenesis. Aromatase is expressed and is active in the hippocampus, a brain region related to learning and memory. Dynamics of spines and spine synapses, including expression of presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins, are controlled by hippocampus-derived estradiol in female rodents, but not in male rodents. This also holds true for long-term potentiation. Inhibition of aromatase, either pharmacologically or by genetic approaches, results in a decrease in synapse density and synaptic potentiation in female animals and in neonatal hippocampal cultures that originate from females. The consistency of the findings in rodents and in perinatal primary hippocampal cultures points to sex-specific differentiation processes during embryonic development, which underlie sex-dependent differences in neurosteroid action in the hippocampus.

Keywords:   hippocampus, synaptic plasticity, estradiol, sex dependency, LTP

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