I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2020 Jan 09

Biol Sex Differ



Estrogen modulation of pain perception with a novel 17β-estradiol pretreatment regime in ovariectomized rats.


Zhang WX, Wu H, Xu Q, Chen S, Sun L, Jiao CC, Wang L, Fu F, Feng Y, Qian X, Chen X
Biol Sex Differ. 2020 Jan 09; 11(1):2.
PMID: 31918752.


Estrogen plays substantial roles in pain modulation; however, studies concerning sex hormones and nociception often yield confusing results. The discrepancy could be a result of lack of consensus to regard estrogen as a variable when working with animal models; thus, the influence of hormones' fluctuations on nociception has continually been neglected. In the present study, we designed a novel hormone substitution model to aid us to evaluate the effects of estrogen's long-term alterations on ovariectomy (OVX)-induced mechanical hyperalgesia and the expression of estrogen receptors(ERs). OVX rats were implanted with slow-release estrogen pellets at differently arranged time points and doses, such that a gradual elevation or decrease of serum estrogen levels following a relatively stable period of estrogen replacement was achieved in rats. Our results demonstrated that gradual estrogen depletion rather than elevation following the stable period of estrogen substitution in OVX rats alleviated OVX-induced mechanical hyperalgesia in a dose-independent manner, and the opposite estrogen increase or decrease paradigms differently regulate the expression of spinal ERs. Specifically, in rats rendered to continuously increased serum estrogen, the early phase estrogen-induced anti-nociception effect in OVX rats was eliminated, which was accompanied by an over-activation of ERα and a strong depression of ERβ, while in the OVX rats subject to gradual decrease of estrogen replacement, both ERα and ERβ increased modestly compared with the OVX group. Thus, the present study demonstrated that estrogen increase or decrease modulate nociception differently through change of spinal ERs.