• Affymetrix array;
  • apoptosis;
  • dorsal raphe;
  • estrogen;
  • progesterone;
  • serotonin


We sought the effect of estradiol (E) and progesterone (P) on survival gene expression in laser captured serotonin neurons and in the dorsal raphe region of monkeys with cDNA array analysis. Spayed rhesus macaques were treated with either placebo, E or E + P via Silastic implant for 1 month prior to killing. First, RNA from a small block of midbrain containing the dorsal raphe was hybridized to Rhesus Gene Chips (n = 3/treatment). There was a significant change in 854 probe sets with E ± P treatment (anova, p < 0.05); however, only 151 probes sets exhibited a twofold or greater change. Twenty-five genes related to cell survival changed significantly. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, superoxide dismutase (SOD1), and the caspase inhibitor, BIRC4, was confirmed with quantitative RT-PCR. Then, RNA from laser captured serotonin neurons (n = 2/treatment) was hybridized to Rhesus Gene Chips. There was a significant change in 744 probe sets, but 10 493 probe sets exhibited a twofold or greater change. Pivotal changes in apoptosis and cell cycle pathways included twofold or greater increases in SOD1, IκBα, Fas apoptotic inhibitory molecule, fibroblast growth factor-receptor 2 (FGFR2), neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor 2 (NTRK2), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (p85 subunit), cyclic AMP dependent protein kinase (PKA) (catalytic subunit), calpain 2, and ataxia telangectasia mutated (ATM). Twofold or greater decreases occurred in TNF receptor interacting serine-threonine kinase 1 (RIP1), BH3 interacting domain death agonist (BID), apoptotic peptidase activating factor 1 (Apaf1), caspase recruitment domain 8 (CARD8), apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), Diablo and Cyclins A, B, D, and E. The regulation of SOD1, calpain 2, Diablo, and Cyclin D was confirmed with quantitative RT-PCR (n = 3/treatment). The data indicate that ovarian steroids target the cytokine-signaling pathway, caspase-dependent and -independent pathways and cell cycle proteins to promote serotonin neuron survival.