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

Estrogen-receptor occurrence in the female mouse brain: effects of maternal experience, ovariectomy, estrogen and anosmia.

Maternal behavior (ultrasound-induced pup-searching and retrieving) was studied in eight groups of female house mice with various hormonal backgrounds, experience with pups and function of the olfactory system. In their brains, estrogen receptor immunoreactive (ER-IR) cells were localized and quantified. All animals of all groups had ER-IR cells in a 'reliable subset' of brain areas, the medial preoptic area (MPOA) and ventromedial (VMH) and arcuate nucleus (ARH) of the hypothalamus. In another subset of brain areas, the anterior hypothalamic area (AHA) and cortical (CA) and medial (MA) amygdaloid nucleus, ER-IR cells can be expected in at least some animals of all experimental groups ('expected subset'). In a variable subset of additional brain areas (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, BNST; suprachiasmatic nucleus, SC; lateral septal nuclei, LS; paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, PVH; entorhinal and piriform cortex, ENT, PIR; subiculum, SUB; hippocampus, HPC; periventricular gray of the midbrain, PVG), ER-IR cells occurred only in some animals of some groups. Numbers of ER-IR cells in a given brain area, volumes occupied by these cells, and cell densities varied considerably among the groups. A covariation of cell counts and volumes was significant for most brain areas indicating that increases of numbers of ER-IR cells relate mainly to volume increases within a given brain area. Experience with pups correlated with an increase of ER presence in the AHA, VMH, ENT, PIR, SUB, HPC and PVG, however, only in the presence of estrogen. Estrogen and pup-experience together led to an increased ER presence in mainly the VMH, ENT and PIR, however, only in females with intact olfaction. Full maternal behavior (retrieving, ultrasound recognition) occurred after the high pregnancy- or experience-induced ER content was reduced to lower levels. The ER occurrence in lactating and experienced virgin females differed, however, in the AHA, BNST, SC, PVH, ENT, PIR, SUB, HPC and PVG showing that the maintenance of maternal behavior can run under different profiles of ER content in the brain. Ovariectomy and/or prolonged high blood-estrogen levels correlated significantly with decreased levels of ER-IR cells in most brain areas which could not be increased by pup-experience.[1]


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