Pharmacological studies have suggested that neurotransmitter activity impinging on steroid-concentrating cells can affect the steroid receptor system within those cells, modifying behavioral responses to the hormone. The present experiments revealed that the α1-noradrenergic antagonist prazosin, administered to ovariectomized rats at the time of each of two pulses of estradiol, inhibited the appearance of sexual receptivity. Prazosin also substantially reduced the levels of estrogen receptors within hypothalamic cell nuclei following an injection of estradiol. Manipulation of noradrenergic inputs into the hypothalamus by lesioning brain stem norepinephrine cell groups with 6-hydroxydopamine (6OHDA) also reduced the level of nuclear estrogen receptors following an injection of estradiol. Although this effect of 6OHDA lesions was observed in two separate experiments, in other experiments 6OHDA had no effect on estrogen receptors. In some instances, there was a positive correlation between nuclear estrogen receptor levels in the hypothalamus and the levels of norepinephrine. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that brain stem inputs to the hypothalamus are able to modulate neural responses to steroids and specifically that noradrenergic inputs are able to modulate neural responses to estradiol. However, there are additional undiscovered variables that preclude statements of a simple relationship between norepinephrine levels and estrogen receptor levels.
- estrogen receptor
- medial basal hypothalamus
- sexual behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience