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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The effects of different doses of estradiol (E2) on cerebral ischemia in an in vitro model of oxygen and glucose deprivation and reperfusion and in a rat model of middle carotid artery occlusion

Yu-Long Ma1, Pei Qin1, Yan Li12, Lan Shen2, Shi-Quan Wang1, Hai-Long Dong1, Wu-Gang Hou1* and Li-Ze Xiong1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anesthesiology, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, P R China

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, P R China

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BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:118  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-118

Published: 9 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Because neuroprotective effects of estrogen remain controversial, we aimed to investigate the effect of different doses of estradiol (E2) on cerebral ischemia using both in vivo and in vitro experiments.

Results

PC12 cells were cultured at physiological (10 nM and 20 nM) or pharmacological (10 μM and 20 μM) dosages of E2 for 24 hours (h). The results of 5-bromodeoxyuridine (Brdu) incorporation and flow cytometric analysis showed that physiological doses of E2 enhanced cell proliferation and pharmacological doses of E2 inhibited cell proliferation. After the cells were exposed to oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) for 4 h and reperfusion for 20 h, the results of 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl) 2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assay, flow cytometric analysis and Western blot analysis showed that physiological doses of E2 enhanced cell viability, reduced cell apoptosis and decreased the expression of pro-apoptotic protein caspase-3. In contrast, pharmacological doses of E2 decreased cell viability and induced cell apoptosis. In vivo, adult ovariectomized (OVX) female rats received continuous subcutaneous injection of different doses of E2 for 4 weeks. Transient cerebral ischemia was induced for 2 h using the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) technique, followed by 22 h of reperfusion. The results of Garcia test, 2, 3, 5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) staining showed that 6 μg/kg and 20 μg/kg E2 replacement induced an increase in neurological deficit scores, a decrease in the infarct volume and a reduction in the expression of caspase-3 when compared to animals in the OVX group without E2 treatment. However, 50 μg/kg E2 replacement treatment decreased neurological deficit scores, increased the infarct volume and the expression of caspase-3 when compared to animals in the control group and 6 up/kg or 20 μg/kg E2 replacement group.

Conclusion

We conclude that physiological levels of E2 exhibit neuroprotective effects on cerebral ischemia; whereas, pharmacological or supraphysiological doses of E2 have damaging effects on neurons after cerebral ischemia.

Keywords:
Estrogen; Neuroprotection; Ischemia; Middle carotid artery occlusion (MCAO); Oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD)