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Keywords:

  • estrogen;
  • GSH;
  • hippocampus;
  • neocortex;
  • glia

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the short- and long-term effects of glucocorticoids [corticosterone (CORT), dexamethasone (DEX), 6-methylprednisolone (6-MP)] and gonadal steroids [17β-estradiol (E2), progesterone (PROG), testosterone (TEST)] on the levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH) in different cell systems of the CNS (neuronal hippocampal HT22 cells, primary hippocampal and neocortical brain cells, and C6 glioma cells). In HT22 cells, steroids exerted mainly long-term effects. Significant increases of GSH levels were detectable after a 24 hr treatment with 10−7 M of DEX (122% ± 5%), 6-MP (208% ± 32%), E2 (134% ± 10%), and TEST (155% ± 17%). A significant decrease occurred after incubation with PROG for 24 hr (79% ± 9%). In primary hippocampal cultures, a 24 hr treatment with DEX (140% ± 8%), E2 (123% ± 6%), and PROG (118% ± 5%) led to significant increases of the GSH levels, whereas, in neocortical primary cultures, only an incubation with E2 increased GSH (149% ± 8%). In C6 cells, hormone treatment led to both significant short-term (1 hr: CORT 114% ± 5%, DEX 90% ± 3%, E2 88% ± 3%; 3 hr: DEX 115% ± 5%, E2 122% ± 6%, TEST 78% ± 4%) and significant long-term (24 hr: CORT 74% ± 4%, 6-MP 84% ± 5%, E2 115% ± 6%, PROG 91% ± 4%, TEST 116% ± 5%) effects. In summary, we were able to demonstrate differential effects of steroids on GSH levels in different cellular CNS models, showing an important influence of steroids and especially E2 on antioxidative cellular functions in neuronal and glial cells. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.