Previous work has demonstrated that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) is capable of stimulating luteinizing hormone release in a variety of species. Interestingly, the ability of NMDA to stimulate luteinizing hormone release is significantly compromised in castrated male and female rats as compared to intact animals. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a difference exists in the number or affinity of NMDA receptors in the hypothalamus of intact or castrated adult male and female rats and whether steroid replacement has any effect on NMDA receptor binding. NMDA receptor mRNA levels were also determined in the respective models. The cerebral cortex was used as a control to check for specificity of any observed differences. The number of NMDA binding sites in the hypothalamus was found to be approximately 25% of that found in the cerebral cortex and the equilibrium association constant was similar in both tissues. In the female rat, neither ovariectomy nor ovariectomy with estrogen pellet replacement or estrogen and progesterone injections altered NMDA receptor binding or the equilibrium association constant in the hypothalamus or cerebral cortex as compared to intact controls. Similar to the case in the female, NMDA receptor binding in the hypothalamus and cerebral cortex of male rats did not change after castration or after treatment with testosterone propionate. Neither ovariectomy nor ovariectomy with estradiol replacement brought about any change in the NMDA receptor mRNA levels in the hypothalamus. However, in the cerebral cortex ovariectomy with estrogen replacement brought about a small but significant increase in NMDA receptor mRNA levels. In summary, the results of the present study show that in the male and female rat, castration and steroid replacement do not alter NMDA receptor concentrations or affinity, nor NMDA receptor mRNA levels in the hypothalamus.
- N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience