Role of sex hormones in the sexually dimorphic expression of KCC2 in rat substantia nigra

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Abstract

KCC2 is a neuronal-specific potassium chloride cotransporter. The level of KCC2 expression is a factor determining whether GABAA receptor agonists depolarize or hyperpolarize neurons. Substantia nigra reticulata (SNR) neurons of male postnatal day 15 (PN15) rats have low KCC2 mRNA expression and respond to GABAA receptor activation with depolarization and activation of calcium-regulated gene expression. Female PN15 SNR neurons have high KCC2 mRNA expression and GABAA receptor agonists cannot activate calcium-dependent signaling processes. We investigate whether sex hormones regulate KCC2 mRNA expression in PN15 rat SNR. Using in situ hybridization, we studied the effects of acute (4 h) or prolonged (52 h) subcutaneous (s.c.) administration of testosterone (100 μg), dihydrotestosterone (180 μg) or 17β-estradiol benzoate (5 μg) on KCC2 mRNA expression in male and female PN15 rat SNR. Different doses of estradiol (1 and 10 μg s.c., 4 h) were also acutely administered in female PN15 rats. Controls received oil injections. Separate groups of PN15 male rats were pretreated with antagonists of L-type voltage-sensitive calcium channels (L-VSCCs) [nifedipine, 100 mg/kg s.c.] or GABAA receptors [bicuculline, 2 mg/kg intraperitoneally (i.p.)] or their vehicles, 30 min before estradiol (5 μg s.c., 4 h). Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone upregulated KCC2 mRNA in both sexes. Estradiol downregulated KCC2 mRNA in males but not in females. Both acute and prolonged hormonal administration had similar effects. In male PN15 SNR, nifedipine and bicuculline decreased KCC2 mRNA acutely and prevented further downregulation of KCC2 mRNA by estradiol. Estradiol therefore downregulates KCC2 mRNA in male PN15 SNR, by interacting with the GABAA receptor and L-VSCC signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1009
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Neurology
Volume184
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003

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Keywords

  • Bicuculline
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Estradiol
  • GABA receptors
  • KCC2
  • Nifedipine
  • Potassium-chloride cotransporter
  • Substantia nigra pars reticulata
  • Testosterone
  • Voltage-sensitive calcium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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