NEUROCHEMICAL RESEARCH, vol.41, no.6, pp.1468-1474, 2016 (SCI-Expanded)
Recently there has been a growing interest in the effects of estrogen on cognitive functions. In this study, we aimed to examine 17 beta-estradiol treatment on working and reference memory in ovariectomized rats. We also examined the changes in the acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the brain areas associated with learning and memory. The study was performed on Sprague-Dawley type 3-month-old female rats. The rats were divided into four groups as control, ovariectomy (OVX), and OVX and estrogen treatment (10 A mu g/day i.p. 17 beta-estradiol) groups for 3 (OVX + E3) and 21 days OVX + E21). The rats were trained on eight arm radial maze task with eight arms baited to assess spatial memory, in addition four arms baited to assess both working and reference memory performances. The electron microscope images of the ACh vesicles in the frontal cortex, temporal cortex and hippocampus areas of the brain which are important regions for learning and memory were screened. Results showed that long term 17 beta-estradiol treatment has positive effects on both reference memory and working memory and that ACh vesicles increased in the examined brain areas, especially in hippocampus. Our results suggest that 3 weeks 17 beta-estradiol treatment may have an ameliorative effect on the memory through the central cholinergic system.