The neurotrophin receptor p75NTR mediates early anti-inflammatory effects of estrogen in the forebrain of young adult rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Estrogen suppresses microglial activation and extravasation of circulating monocytes in young animals, supporting an anti-inflammatory role for this hormone. However, the mechanisms underlying estrogen's anti-inflammatory effects, especially in vivo, are not well understood. The present study tests the hypothesis that anti-inflammatory effects of estrogen are mediated by the pan-neurotrophin receptor p75NTR. Previously, we reported that estrogen attenuated local increases of interleukin(IL)-1beta in the NMDA-lesioned olfactory bulb, while further increasing NGF expression. RESULTS: The present studies show that this lesion enhances expression of the neurotrophin receptor p75NTR at the lesion site, and p75NTR expression is further enhanced by estrogen treatment to lesioned animals. Specifically, estrogen stimulates p75NTR expression in cells of microvessels adjacent to the lesion site. To determine the role of this receptor in mediating estrogen's anti-inflammatory effects, a p75NTR neutralizing antibody was administered at the same time the lesion was created (by stereotaxic injections of NMDA) and specific markers of the inflammatory cascade were measured. Olfactory bulb injections of NMDA+vehicle (preimmune serum) increased IL-1beta and activated the signaling molecule c-jun terminal kinase (JNK)-2 at 6 h. At 24 h, the lesion significantly increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and prostaglandin (PG)E2, a COX-2 mediated metabolite of arachadonic acid. All of these markers were significantly attenuated by estrogen in a time-dependent manner. However, estrogen's effects on all these markers were abolished in animals that received anti-p75NTR. CONCLUSION: These data support the hypothesis that estrogen's anti-inflammatory effects may be, in part, mediated by this neurotrophin receptor. In view of the novel estrogen-dependent expression of p75NTR in cells associated with microvessels, these data also suggest that the blood brain barrier is a critical locus of estrogen's neuro-immune effects.

published proceedings

  • BMC Neurosci

author list (cited authors)

  • Nordell, V. L., Lewis, D. K., Bake, S., & Sohrabji, F.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Nordell, Vanessa L||Lewis, Danielle K||Bake, Shameena||Sohrabji, Farida

publication date

  • September 2005