Potential neuronal mechanisms of estrogen actions in synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity
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1. Studies conducted on the rat arcuate nucleus, an area involved in the development and control of LH and FSH secretion, have shown the existence of hormonally regulated developmental sex differences in synaptic patterns and estrogen-induced synaptic plasticity during adult life. Several questions raised by these findings are examined in this review:
2. The mechanisms of estrogen-regulated developmental synaptogenesis. These include the role of glycocalyx glycoproteins in neuronal membranes, neural cell adhesion molecules, and insulin-like growth factor I.
3. The relationship among circulating estrogen, gonadotropin levels, and hypothalamic synaptic plasticity. Recent evidence for the role of GABAergic and dopaminergic synaptic inputs and POMC projections from the arcuate nucleus to the GnRH cells is discussed.
4. The synaptologic basis of age-related failure of positive feedback. The role of the cumulative effect of repeated preovulatory synaptic retraction and reapplication cycles on sensescent constant estrus is analyzed.
Key wordsestradiol arcuate nucleus gonadotropin releasing hormone ovarian cycle synaptogenesis synaptic plasticity GABA dopamine β-endorphin neural cell adhesion molecule insulin-like growth factor I
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