Estradiol induces a phasic Fos response in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 regions of adult female rats

Charles N. Rudick, Catherine S. Woolley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that estradiol induces structural and functional changes in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells of the adult female rat. Estradiol increases the density of dendritic spines and axospinous synapses on CA1 pyramidal cells, and increases these cells' sensitivity to NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic input. Curiously, while estradiol effects are observed in CA1 pyramidal cells, the majority of the evidence indicates that these cells lack genomic estradiol receptors. In contrast, genomic estradiol receptors are expressed in at least some hippocampal interneurons in CA1. The goal of the present study was to determine which hippocampal neuronal populations are activated by estradiol, as determined by induction of c-Fos immunoreactivity, as well as the time-course of this activation. We quantified c-Fos expression in each of the major subdivisions of the hippocampus in adult female rats at various time points during the same estradiol treatment regimen known to regulate dendritic spines and synapses on CA1 pyramidal cells. Our results show a phasic estradiol-induced c-Fos response in the pyramidal cell layers of both CA1 and CA3. c-Fos was induced within 2 h of treatment, decreased at 6 and 12 h, and subsequently increased again at 24 h after treatment with estradiol. Double labeling for c-Fos and GAD 65 or GAD 67 suggests that c-Fos is induced primarily in principal cells, though a small proportion of GABAergic cells is also labeled. These estradiol-induced changes in c-Fos expression may reflect phasic neuronal activation and coupling to gene expression, which could be involved in estradiol's effects on excitatory synaptic connectivity in the hippocampus. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-283
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Disector
  • Estrogen
  • Glutamic acid decarboxylase
  • Immediate early gene
  • Immunohistochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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