The neuropeptides galanin and neuropeptide Y (NPY) play an important role in the reproduction of rodents, e.g. by modulating the release of gonadal hormones, the nutritional status by effects on feeding behavior and also by influencing mating behavior. There are age- and gender- differences in galanin- and NPY- like immunoreactivities (LIs) in brain areas important for higher functions including the hippocampal formation (HiFo) and cortex, that are related to the concentrations of 17β-estradiol.
Neuropeptides in general are currently not considered critical in normal integrative neuronal functions but are rather thought to act as slow modulators during periods of stress or injury. In the present thesis we attempted to investigate, if the normal cyclical changes in the female sex-hormone 17β-estradiol can affect neurotransmission in brain areas important for memory, cognition and mood. We studied not only ”long term” (days and weeks) but also ”short-term” (one hour) effects on galanin and NPY concentrations in 17β-estradiol-primed ovariectomized (ovx) rats and mice.
Radioimmunoassay (RIA) of galanin-LI in extracts of brain tissues from ”long-term” 17β-estradiol-treated ovx rats showed that its effects on galanin are dependent on boththe dose and on duration. Galanin - and NPY-LI in brain tissues of young ovx rats and mice increased in response to 17β-estradiol treatment in the HiFo, frontal cortex and striatum already within hours. This effect was not blocked by Tamoxifen® in rats. The mechanism of the 17β-estradiol effects on galanin levels in the rat HiFo may be related to decreased release of galanin into the extracellular fluid, since galanin-LI decreased in microdialysis samples two hours after a single injection of 17β-estradiol. Species differences were observed with regards to galanin, possibly due to tissue and species differences in the distribution of estrogen receptors.
In the HiFo and caudate nucleus of mice, we found an increase in NPY-transcript after two hours by means of insitu hybridization, perhaps a compensatory up-regulation of NPY mRNA after increased 17β-estradiol-induced release in these areas. Taken together with no effects of Tamoxifen® on the levels on galanin in the HiFo of rats, the short duration, and the fact that the density of classical estrogen receptors seems to be limited in the striatum, we suggest that these effects are mediated through a membrane-related mechanism perhaps not involving the classical ER route.
With an antiserum raised against the C-terminal end of the first 16 aminoacids of galanin- the sequence important for binding of intact galanin to its receptor - we found a novel compound which appears to be a homologue to galanin. Chromatographical analysis revealed that it was not galanin(1-29) or the galanin related peptide, galaninlike peptide (GALP), but appeared with immunohistochemistry in the galanin systems in the brain and was further influenced by 17β-estradiol in the HiFo and frontal cortex in a similar manner as galanin(1-29).
In conclusion, tissue concentrations of galanin, a putative galanin homologue and NPY can be altered already after one hour by 17β-estradiol treatment e.i. in the HiFo. These ”short-term” effects are most likely to be due to effects on estrogen-primed peptide release which might influence mechanisms important for memory, cognition and mood.
Institutionen för biomedicin och kirurgi , 2005.
2005-09-07, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Ingång 65, Linköpings universitetssjukhus, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
McEwen, Bruce S.