Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study helps deconstruct estrogen's role in memory

Date:
September 18, 2013
Source:
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Summary:
Deciphering the exact mechanism of estrogen activation in the brain could lead to new targets for drug development that would provide middle-aged women the cognitive benefits of hormone replacement therapy without increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease or breast cancer.

The loss of estrogens at menopause increases a woman's risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, yet hormone replacement therapy can cause harmful side effects.

Knowing the exact mechanism of estrogen activation in the brain could lead to new targets for drug development that would provide middle-aged women the cognitive benefits of hormone replacement therapy without increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease or breast cancer.

In a new study, Karyn Frick, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), uncovers details about estrogen's role in the complex cellular communication system underlying memory formation.

"The receptor mechanisms that regulate estrogen's ability to enhance memory are still poorly understood," says Frick. "With this study, we've begun to sort out several of the key players needed for estrogens to mediate memory formation."

The research, published in the the Journal of Neuroscience today, focused on estrogen effects in a brain region called the hippocampus, which deteriorates with age or Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that each of the two known estrogen receptors rapidly activate a specific cellular pathway necessary for memory formation in the hippocampus of female mice, but only if they interact with a certain glutamate receptor, called mGluR1.

The study revealed that when this glutamate receptor is blocked, the cell-signaling protein ERK cannot be activated by the potent estrogen, 17β-estradiol. Because ERK activation is necessary for memory formation, estradiol failed to enhance memory among mice in which mGluR1 was blocked.

Frick's team also found evidence that estrogen receptors and mGluR1 physically interact at the cell membrane, allowing estradiol to influence memory formation within seconds to minutes. Collectively, the data provide the first evidence that the rapid signaling initiated by such interactions is essential for estradiol to enhance memory regulated by the hippocampus.

"Our data suggesting that interactions between estrogen receptors and mGluR1 at the cell membrane are critical for estradiol to enhance memory provides important new information about how estrogens regulate memory formation," Frick says.

"Because membrane proteins are better targets for drug development than proteins inside the cell, these data could lead to a new generation of therapies that provide the cognitive benefits of estrogens without harmful side effects."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. I. Boulware, J. D. Heisler, K. M. Frick. The Memory-Enhancing Effects of Hippocampal Estrogen Receptor Activation Involve Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Signaling. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (38): 15184 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1716-13.2013

Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "Study helps deconstruct estrogen's role in memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130918143339.htm>.
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. (2013, September 18). Study helps deconstruct estrogen's role in memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130918143339.htm
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. "Study helps deconstruct estrogen's role in memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130918143339.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins