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Long-Term Oestradiol Treatment Enhances Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity that is Dependent on Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Ovariectomised Female Rats

Authors

  • C. E. Stelly,

    1. Neuroscience Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
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    • Present address: Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA.

  • J. Cronin,

    1. Neuroscience Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    2. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
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  • J. M. Daniel,

    1. Neuroscience Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    2. Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
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  • L. A. Schrader

    1. Neuroscience Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
    2. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
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L. A. Schrader, 6400 Freret Street, 2000 Percival Stern Hall, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA (e-mail: schrader@tulane.edu).

Abstract

Short-term oestradiol treatment modulates hippocampus-dependent memory and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Long-term oestradiol treatment can also enhance hippocampus- dependent memory, although the effects of long-term oestradiol treatment on synaptic plasticity are unknown. We investigated the effects of long-term oestradiol treatment on synaptic plasticity at the Schaeffer Collateral/CA1 synapse in 8-month-old female rats. In addition, we determined the role of endogenous activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) in synaptic transmission and plasticity using scopolamine (1 μm), an antagonist of mAChRs. Hippocampus slices from ovariectomised rats that were treated with oestradiol-containing capsules for 5 months were compared with slices from ovariectomised rats that received cholesterol-containing capsules. Unexpectedly, scopolamine application significantly increased the baseline field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSP) and decreased paired pulse facilitation (PPF) in slices from cholesterol-treated rats. Baseline fEPSPs and PPF were not significantly modulated in slices from oestradiol-treated rats by scopolamine. Slices from oestradiol-treated rats showed enhanced long-term potentiation relative to slices from cholesterol-treated rats. Scopolamine significantly reduced the magnitude of plasticity in slices from oestradiol-treated rats. Taken together, these results suggest that mAChRs have a significant effect on baseline synaptic transmission through a decrease in the probability of glutamate release in slices from cholesterol-treated rats. Long-term oestradiol treatment blocks this effect and enhances theta-burst stimulation-induced synaptic plasticity in the middle-aged female rat, and this effect is mediated by activation of mAChRs.

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