Isolation rearing-induced reduction of brain 5α-reductase expression: relevance to dopaminergic impairments.
The metabolite of progesterone, allopregnanolone, is among the most potent known ligands of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor complex (GABA(A)-R) in the central nervous system. This neuroactive steroid is markedly increased in an animal model of acute stress. Allopregnanolone is synthesized from progesterone by steroidogenic enzymes 5alpha-reductase (5alpha-R) and 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3alpha-HSD), with the former being the rate-limiting enzyme in this reaction sequence. In this paper, a quantitative RT-PCR method coupled to laser-induced fluorescence capillary electrophoresis (LIF-CE) and Western blot were used to measure both mRNA and protein levels of 5alpha-R type 1 (5alpha-R1) and 5alpha-R type 2 (5alpha-R2) isozymes in prefrontal cortex of male rats after acute swim stress situations. Our results demonstrate that both 5alpha-R isozymes are significantly higher in prefrontal cortex of male rats after acute swim stress in comparison with control rats. These data may open up a new research line that could improve our understanding of the role of 5alpha-R isozymes in processes that accompany stress situations.