Estrogen receptor-independent neuroprotection via protein phosphatase preservation and attenuation of persistent extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activation.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008 Mar; 324(3):1188-95.JP
The mechanism of estrogen-mediated neuroprotection is not yet clear. Estrogens have a variety of modes of action, including transducing signaling events such as activation and/or suppression of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. We have previously shown protein phosphatases to be involved in 17beta-estradiol-mediated neuroprotection. In the present study, we assessed the role of estrogen receptors (ERs) in estrogen-mediated neuroprotection from oxidative/excitotoxic stress and the consequential effects on MAPK signaling. Okadaic acid and calyculin A, nonspecific serine/threonine phosphatase inhibitors, were exposed to cells at various concentrations in the presence or absence of 17alpha-estradiol, the enantiomer of 17beta-estradiol, 2-(1-adamantyl)-3-hydroxyestra-1,3,5(10)-trien-17-one (ZYC3; non-ER-binding estrogen analog), and/or glutamate. All three compounds, which we have shown to have little or no binding to ERalpha and ERbeta, were protective against glutamate toxicity but not against okadaic acid and calyculin A toxicity. In addition, in the presence of effective concentrations of these inhibitors, the protective effects of these estrogen analogs were lost. Glutamate treatment caused a 50% decrease in levels of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), and protein phosphatase 2B (calcineurin) (PP2B). Coadministration of ZYC3 with glutamate prevented the decreases in PP1, PP2A, and PP2B levels. Furthermore, glutamate treatment caused a persistent increase in phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 that corresponds with the decrease protein levels of serine/threonine phosphatases. ZYC3 blocked this persistent increase in ERK phosphorylation. These results suggest that estrogens protect cells against glutamate-induced oxidative stress through an ER-independent mediated mechanism that serves to preserve phosphatase activity in the face of oxidative insults, resulting in attenuation of the persistent phosphorylation of ERK associated with neuronal death.