Genes in the GABA Pathway Increase in the Lateral Thalamus of Sprague-Dawley Rats During the Proestrus/Estrus Phase. Academic Article uri icon


  • Pain can vary over the estrous cycle as a result of changes in estradiol concentration but the mechanism causing this variation is unclear. Because the thalamus is important in pain control, gene expression in the lateral thalamus (ventral posteromedial, ventral posterolateral, reticular thalamic nuclei) was screened at different phases of the estrous cycle. Gene expression changes in Sprague-Dawley rats were further analyzed by real-time PCR and ELISA and plasma estradiol levels were measured by RIAs at different phases of the estrous cycle. Our results indicated that both the RNA and protein expression of glutamate decarboxylase 1 and 2 (GAD1, GAD2), GABA(A) receptor-associated protein like 1 (GABARAPL1), and vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) significantly increased in the lateral thalamus when plasma estradiol levels were elevated. Estradiol levels were elevated during the proestrus and estrus phases of the estrous cycle. Estrogen receptor (ER) was observed to be co-localized in thalamic cells and thalamic infusion of an ER antagonist significantly reduced GAD1 and VGAT transcript. GAD1, GAD2, GABARAPL1, and VGAT have been shown to effect neuronal responses suggesting that attenuation of pain during the estrous cycle can be dependent, in part, through estradiol induced changes in thalamic gene expression.

published proceedings

  • J Cell Physiol

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Umorin, M., Stinson, C., Bellinger, L. L., & Kramer, P. R.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Umorin, Mikhail||Stinson, Crystal||Bellinger, Larry L||Kramer, Phillip R

publication date

  • January 2016