Effects of estradiol on cognition and hippocampal pathology after lateral fluid percussion brain injury in female rats

Diane Lebesgue, David G. LeBold, Nathan O. Surles, Diego M. Morales, Anne M. Etgen, M. Suzanne Zukin, Kathryn E. Saatman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Studies involving animal models of acute central nervous system (CNS) stroke and trauma strongly indicate that sex and/or hormonal status are important determinants of outcome after brain injury. The present study was undertaken to examine the ability of estradiol to protect hippocampal neurons from lateral fluid percussion brain injury. Sprague-Dawley female rats (211-285 g; n = 119) were ovariectomized, and a subset (n = 66) were implanted with 17β-estradiol pellets to provide near physiological levels of estradiol. Animals were subjected to lateral fluid percussion brain injury or sham injury 1 week later. Activation of caspase-3 (n = 26) and TUNEL staining (n = 21) were assessed at 3 and 12 h after injury, respectively, in surviving control and estradiol-treated animals. Memory retention was examined using a Morris water maze test in a separate subset of animals (n = 43) at 8 days after injury. Activated caspase-3 and TUNEL staining were observed in the dentate hilus, granule cell layer, and CA3 regions in all injured rats, indicative of selective hippocampal cell apoptosis in the acute posttraumatic period. Estradiol did not significantly alter the number of hippocampal neurons exhibiting caspase-3 activity or TUNEL staining. Brain injury impaired cognitive ability, assessed at 1 week post-injury (p < 0.001). However, estradiol at physiological levels did not significantly alter injury-induced loss of memory. These data indicate that estradiol at physiological levels does not ameliorate trauma-induced hippocampal injury or cognitive deficits in ovariectomized female rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1814-1827
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Gender
  • In vivo studies
  • Learning and memory
  • Neuronal cell death
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of estradiol on cognition and hippocampal pathology after lateral fluid percussion brain injury in female rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this