N-cadherin is regulated by gonadal steroids in the adult hippocampus

Douglas A. Monks, Spiro Getsios, Colin D. MacCalman, Neil V. Watson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In the adult hippocampus, gonadal steroids induce neural remodeling through cellular and molecular mechanisms that are largely unknown. The calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin, which participates in the developmental organization of the nervous system, has recently been localized to hippocampal synapses and is suspected to participate in adult synaptic physiology. Little is currently known about the regulation of cadherins in the adult central nervous system, although posttranslational modifications are thought to account for variability in N-cadherin expression levels. To evaluate the possibility that gonadal steroids regulate N-cadherin in the adult hippocampus, we examined hippocampal N-cadherin mRNA levels and protein expression in castrated adult male rats treated with testosterone, or its metabolites 17β-estradiol or dihydrotestosterone. Northern blot analysis indicated increased hippocampal N-cadherin mRNA levels in the adult rat hippocampus after treatment with 17β-estradiol but not testosterone or dihydrotestosterone. Increased N-cadherin immunoreactivity was observed in CA1 and CA3 pyramidal cells after 17β-estradiol treatment. Additionally, both 17β-estradiol and testosterone treatment increased N-cadherin immunoreactivity in the neuropil of the stratum lacunosum-moleculare, which includes apical dendrites from pyramidal cells. In contrast, dihydrotestosterone treatment had no effect on levels of N-cadherin protein expression in CA1 or CA3 pyramidal cells or in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare. These results demonstrate that, in the hippocampus, expression levels of N-cadherin are dynamic in adulthood. To our knowledge, there have been no other demonstrations of steroid regulation of cadherin expression in neural populations. These results suggest a possible adhesive mechanism for steroid-induced plasticity of the adult nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1312-1316
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 30 2001


  • Androgens
  • Cell adhesion
  • Estrogens
  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Pyramidal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'N-cadherin is regulated by gonadal steroids in the adult hippocampus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this