Anxiolytic property of estrogen related to the changes of the monoamine levels in various brain regions of ovariectomized rats.Physiol Behav. 2006 Apr 15; 87(4):828-35.PB
Anxiety is a symptom reflecting the dysregulation of monoaminergic neurotransmitters which may be modulated by estrogen. In our current study, we investigated the effects of chronic estrogen administration (10 microg/kg, s.c. for 4 weeks) on anxiety-like behavior using the elevated plus-maze with the corresponding changes of monoamines in the brain regions contributing to anxiety. The behavioral test revealed that estrogen-treated rats (Ovx+E(2)) spent more time in the open arm of the maze as well as a higher time/entry ratio in open arms than ovariectomized (Ovx) rats, indicating an anxiolytic property of estrogen. The increase in open arm time corresponded to an increase in uterine weight, indicated a correlation between the function of estrogen and its anxiolytic effect. Measurements of brain monoamines following estrogen treatment revealed decreases in norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in all of the brain regions studied, which also lead to an increase in turnover rates. The concentrations of norepinephrine in caudate putamen, of dopamine in nucleus accumbens, of serotonin in frontal cortex, hippocampus, caudate putamen, nucleus accumbens, and substantia nigra and of the serotonin metabolite, the 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid in substantia nigra of Ovx+E(2) rats were significantly lower than those of Ovx rats. Interestingly, the uterine weight was negatively correlated with the changes of dopamine and serotonin (with the exception of the hippocampus), suggesting a regulatory role of estrogen on these systems. From these data, we concluded that, in fact, there is a relationship between estrogen and monoamines (i.e. serotonin, dopamine) in modulating the anxiety-like behaviors in female rats.