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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Estrogen selectively increases tryptophan hydroxylase-2 mRNA expression in distinct subregions of rat midbrain raphe nucleus: association between gene expression and anxiety behavior in the open field.

BACKGROUND: Ovarian steroids modulate anxiety behavior, perhaps by regulating the serotonergic neurons in the midbrain raphe nucleus. The regulation of the brain-specific isoform of rat tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH2) by ovarian hormones has not yet been investigated. Therefore, we examined the effects of estrogen and progesterone on TPH2 mRNA in the rat dorsal and median raphe nuclei (DRN and MRN, respectively) and whether TPH2 mRNA levels correlated with anxiety behavior. METHODS: Ovariectomized rats were treated for two weeks with placebo, estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone, exposed to the open field test, and TPH2 mRNA was quantified by in situ hybridization histochemistry. RESULTS: Estrogen increased TPH2 mRNA in the mid-ventromedial and caudal subregions of the DRN and the caudal MRN. Combined estrogen and progesterone treatment did not change TPH2 mRNA relative to ovariectomized controls. TPH2 mRNA in caudal DRN was associated with lower anxiety-like behavior, whereas TPH2 mRNA in rostral dorsomedial DRN was associated with increased anxiety-like behavior. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that estrogen may increase the capacity for serotonin synthesis in discrete subgroups of raphe neurons, and reinforce previous observations that different subregions of DRN contribute to distinct components of anxiety behavior.[1]


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