The Endocrine Society
Computing, Health and Science
Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Centre for Alzheimer's Disease
The benefits of estrogen replacement as a preventative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are subject to debate. Because the effects of estrogen depletion and replacement on accumulation of the neurotoxic β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide in transgenic animal models of AD have been variable, we examined Aβ levels and oxidative stress in a nontransgenic animal model. Sheep have traditionally been used as a model for human reproduction; however because they share 100% sequence homology with the human form of Aβ, they may also have potential as a nontransgenic model for Aβ biology. The effect of ovariectomy and estrogen replacement administered for 6 months via slow-release implant was examined in the brain of 4.5-yr-old sheep. Aβ levels were measured by ELISA, and protein levels of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), APP C-terminal fragments (C100), and presenilin-1 were examined semiquantitatively by Western blot as markers of APP processing. Markers of oxidative stress were examined semiquantitatively by Western blot [4-hydroxy-2(E)-nonenal] and oxyblot (protein carbonyls). We found no effects of estrogen depletion and supplementation in terms of AD-related biochemical markers, including Aβ levels, APP processing, and oxidative stress levels. Evidence of a trend toward increased P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme levels in the hippocampus of ovariectomized and estrogen supplemented sheep suggests that neurosteroidogenesis may compensate for gonadal estrogen depletion; however, these findings cannot explain the lack of effect of estrogen supplementation on APP processing. It is possible that supraphysiological doses of estrogen are necessary to yield antiamyloidogenic and antioxidative benefits in ovariectomized sheep.