Protection of cultured spinal motor neurons by estradiol.
Neuroreport. 2000 Nov 9;11(16):3493-7. PMID: 11095506
Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.
Estrogens have been reported to exert neuroprotection in the brain, but there have been no reports of such neuroprotection in spinal motor neurons, the neurons selectively involved in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we demonstrated that 17beta-estradiol and its biologically inactive stereoisomer, 17alpha-estradiol, prevented glutamate- and nitric oxide (NO)-induced selective motor neuronal death observed in primary cultures of the rat spinal cord. The dose of estradiols required for motor neuron protection was greatly reduced by co-administration with glutathione. The results of this study shows that estradiol protects spinal motor neurons from excitotoxic insults in vitro, and may have application as a treatment for ALS.