Sex-specific estrogen regulation of hypothalamic astrocyte estrogen receptor expression and glycogen metabolism in rats.


School of Basic Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Louisiana Monroe, Monroe, LA, 71201, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Brain astrocytes are implicated in estrogenic neuroprotection against bio-energetic insults, which may involve their glycogen energy reserve. Forebrain estrogen receptors (ER)-alpha (ERα) and -beta (ERβ) exert differential control of glycogen metabolic enzyme [glycogen synthase (GS); phosphorylase (GP)] expression in hypoglycemic male versus female rats. Studies were conducted using a rat hypothalamic astrocyte primary culture model along with selective ER agonists to investigate the premise that estradiol (E2) exerts sex-dimorphic control over astrocyte glycogen mass and metabolism. Female astrocyte GS and GP profiles are more sensitive to E2 stimulation than the male. E2 did not regulate expression of phospho-GS (inactive enzyme form) in either sex. Data also show that transmembrane G protein-coupled ER-1 (GPER) signaling is implicated in E2 control of GS profiles in each sex and alongside ERα, GP expression in females. E2 increases total 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) protein in female astrocytes, but stimulated pAMPK (active form) expression with equivalent potency via GPER in females and ERα in males. In female astrocytes, ERα protein was up-regulated at a lower E2 concentration and over a broader dosage range compared to males, whereas ERβ was increased after exposure to 1-10 nM versus 100 pM E2 levels in females and males, respectively. GPER profiles were stimulated by E2 in female, but not male astrocytes. E2 increased astrocyte glycogen content in female, but not male astrocytes; selective ERβ or ERα stimulation elevated glycogen levels in the female and male, respectively. Outcomes imply that dimorphic astrocyte ER and glycogen metabolic responses to E2 may reflect, in part, differential steroid induction of ER variant expression and/or regulation of post-receptor signaling in each sex.


5′-AMP-activated protein kinase,Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase-beta,Estrogen receptor-alpha,G protein-coupled estrogen receptor,Glycogen phosphorylase,Glycogen synthase,

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