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Estrogen Metabolism May Have an Impact on Stroke Recovery

2-methoxyestradiol inhibits proliferation, pro-inflammatory responses, phagocytosis in microglia

brain skull

MONDAY, Jan. 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- 2-methoxyestradiol (2-ME), an endogenous metabolite of estradiol, inhibits proliferation, pro-inflammatory responses, and phagocytosis in microglia, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Sara A. Schaufelberger, from the University Hospital Zurich, and colleagues compared the effects of estradiol, 2-hydroxyestradiol (2-OE; estradiol metabolite produced by cytochrome P450 [CYP450]), and 2-ME (formed by catechol-O-methyltransferase [COMT] acting on 2-OE) on microglial DNA synthesis, cell proliferation, activation, and phagocytosis.

The researchers found that for inhibition of microglia DNA synthesis, 2-ME and 2-OE were about three- and 10-fold more potent that estradiol, respectively. Pharmacological inhibitors of CYP450 and COMT reduced the anti-mitogenic effects of estradiol. COMT inhibition blocked 2-OE to 2-ME conversion and the anti-mitogenic effects of 2-OE but not 2-ME. Microglia expressed estrogen receptor (ER)-β and GPR30, but did not express ER-α. Microglial proliferation was inhibited by an ER-β agonist, but not by an ER-α agonist or G1 (GPR30 agonist). An ERα/β antagonist (ICI182780) partially reversed the anti-proliferative effects of estradiol, but not 2-OE or 2-ME, while an ER-α antagonist or G15 (GPR30 antagonist) did not. 2-ME inhibited the effect of lipopolysaccharide, which increased microglia inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 expression and the phagocytosing activity of microglia.

"2-ME could be of potential therapeutic use in post-ischemic stroke injuries," the authors write. "Inter-individual differences in estradiol metabolism might affect the individual's ability to recover from stroke."

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