The role of the serotonergic system in regulating the expression of estrogen receptor (ER) α in the hypothalamus was investigated in ovariectomized rats by injecting a serotonin synthesis inhibitor, parachlorophenylalanine (PCPA), or by destroying the dorsal raphe nucleus (DR). The number of ERα-immunoreactive (ir) cells was counted in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus in the preoptic area (AVPV), ventrolateral ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (vlVMN), and arcuate nucleus (ARCN). Seven days after ovariectomy, 100mg/kg PCPA or saline was injected daily for 4 days. Alternatively, radiofrequency lesioning of the DR (DRL) or sham lesions were made on the same time of ovariectomy. One-day after the last injection of PCPA or 7 days after brain surgery, the brain was fixed for immunostaining of ERα and the number of ERα-ir cell were counted in the nuclei of interest. The mean number of ERα-ir cells/mm3 (density) in the AVPV of the PCPA or DRL groups was statistically higher than that in the saline or sham group. In the vlVMN and ARCN of the PCPA or DRL groups, the mean density of ERα-ir cells was comparable to the saline or sham groups. These results suggest that the serotonergic system of the DR plays an inhibitory role on the expression of ERα in the AVPV, but not in the vlVMN and ARCN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas