An Ovarian Steroid Hormone Regimen that Increases Hypothalamic Oxytocin Expression Alters [3H] Muscimol Binding in the Hypothalamic Supraoptic Nucleus of the Female Rat

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Brain Research


GABAA receptors, cell migration, pattern formation, estrogen receptors, GABAA receptor binding, muscimol

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Administration of sequential estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P) for 2 weeks followed by withdrawal of P 48 h prior to sacrifice will increase oxytocin (OT) messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) levels in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei (PVN and SON) of the ovariectomized rat. Progesterone is known to mediate certain of its effects via binding to the gamma aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor. E2 and P are known to modulate the specific binding of the GABAA receptor agonist, muscimol, in certain brain regions. In the present study ovariectomized rats received empty or steroid-filled Silastic capsules for 2 weeks according to one of the following schedules: E2 only (E2 group) vs. sequential E2 and P in which P was either removed 48 h prior to killing (E2/P− group) or sustained until sacrifice (E2/P+ group). []muscimol binding was measured in several brain regions of the animals. The steroid sequence that is known to increase SON OT mRNA (E2/P−) selectively decreased []muscimol binding in the SON of ovariectomized rats. The results suggest that changes in GABAA receptor binding may, in part, play a role in the regulation of steroid-induced increases in hypothalamic OT expression.