Evaluation of Estrogen Neuroprotective Effect on Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Neurons Following 6-Hydroxydopamine Injection into the Substantia Nigra Pars Compacta or the Medial Forebrain Bundle
Intrastriatal injection (16microg) of the neurotoxic dopaminergic agent 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in ovariectomized rats caused important reductions in striatal dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) levels and an increase in GABA content. Treatment of ovariectomized rats with estradiol (5 mg 17-beta-estradiol administered by a subcutaneous cannula) before 6-OHDA injection maintained the control levels of these neurotransmitters. The administration of estradiol after 6-OHDA injection did not lead to their recovery. These findings suggest that estradiol acts as a neuroprotectant--but not as a neuroreparatory agent--and that it might be able to attenuate striatal dopaminergic neuron degeneration caused by neurotoxic agents.