Estradiol acts as a neuroprotective factor against brain injury. This study investigated whether estradiol modulates the Bcl-2 family proteins in ischemic brain injury. Adult female rats were ovariectomized and treated with estradiol prior to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Brains were collected 24 hr after MCAO, and infarct volumes were analyzed. Estradiol significantly reduces the infarct volume and decreases the positive cells of TUNEL staining in cerebral cortex. In ischemic cerebral cortex, the level of Bcl-2 was decreased, and the level of Bax was significantly increased. Estradiol prevents the injury-induced decrease of Bcl-2 and increase of Bax. In conclusion, our findings suggest that estradiol plays a potent protective role in brain injury through the regulation of Bcl-2 family proteins.
2006 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science