, Volume 33, Issue 7, pp 1238-1246
Date: 09 Feb 2008

Evaluation of Estrogen Neuroprotective Effect on Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons Following 6-Hydroxydopamine Injection into the Substantia Nigra Pars Compacta or the Medial Forebrain Bundle

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Studies involving estrogen treatment of ovariectomized rats or mice have attributed to this hormone a neuroprotective effect on the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) neurons. We investigated the effect of estradiol replacement in ovariectomized rats on the survival of dopaminergic mesencephalic cell and the integrity of their projections to the striatum after microinjections of 1 μg of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) into the right SNpc or medial forebrain bundle (MFB). Estradiol replacement did not prevent the reduction either in the striatal concentrations of DA and metabolites or in the number of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons following lesion with 1 μg of 6-OHDA into the SNpc. Nevertheless, estradiol treatment reduced the decrease in striatal DA following injection of 1 μg of 6-OHDA into the MFB. Results suggest therefore that estrogen protect nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons against a 6-OHDA injury to the MFB but not the SNpc. This may be due to the distinct degree of lesions promoted in these different rat models of Parkinson’s disease.