The long-term cellular effects of estrogens are mediated by nuclear estrogen receptors which act as transcription factors to regulate gene expression. Hypothalamic targets of estrogen action include luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone-secreting neurons controlling reproduction in vertebrates. Microarray analysis and qRT-PCR studies were performed on GT1-7, immortalized LHRH neurons after 17β-estradiol treatment to reveal the nature of estrogen-regulated genes and the time course of changes in their expression profile. More than 1000 transcripts showed robust responses to estrogen treatment and the majority of responding genes were up-regulated. Early-responding genes showed altered expression 0.5-2 h after estrogen exposure, whereas late-responding genes changed after 24-48 h treatment. Up-regulated genes encoded transcription factors, molecules involved in cellular movement, cell death, immune response, neurotransmitter and neuropeptide receptors, ion channels and transporters. The 17β-estradiol modulation of 12 genes - representing characteristic gene clusters - has been confirmed by qRT-PCR. Our studies highlighted diverse gene networks, cell regulatory mechanisms and metabolic pathways through which estrogen may alter gene expression in immortalized LHRH neurons. The findings also support the notion that genomic effects of estrogen targeting in vivo directly the LHRH neuronal network of mammals play an important role in the central feedback regulation of the reproductive axis by estrogen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology