Raloxifene and estradiol benzoate both fully restore hippocampal choline acetyltransferase activity in ovariectomized rats

Xin Wu, Michele A. Glinn, Nancy L. Ostrowski, Yuan Su, Binhui Ni, Harlan W. Cole, Henry U. Bryant, Steven M. Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) demonstrate tissue-specific estrogen receptor (ER) agonist or antagonist properties. Raloxifene, a prototypical SERM, has ER agonist properties in bone and on cholesterol metabolism but full antagonist properties in the uterus and breast. To characterize the ER agonist/antagonist profile of raloxifene in the brain, we have examined its effect on the activity of a known estrogen-responsive gene product, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), in the hippocampus and other brain regions of 6-month-old ovariectomized (OVX) Sprague-Dawley rats. Three weeks post-ovariectomy, animals received estradiol benzoate (EB, 0.03 mg or 0.3 mg kg-1 day-1 for 3 or 10 days); raloxifene HCl (3.0 mg kg-1 day-1 for 3 or 10 days), tamoxifen (3.0 mg kg-1 day-1 for 10 days) or vehicle (20% CDX). As previously reported, ChAT activity decreased by approximately 20%-50% in the hippocampus of OVX compared with SHAM-operated control rats with no change in ChAT activity observed in the hypothalamus. Raloxifene or EB reversed the OVX-induced decrease in ChAT activity in the hippocampus but did not change ChAT activity in the hypothalamus. Animals that received combined EB (0.03 mg/kg) plus raloxifene (1 mg/kg) or tamoxifen alone (3.0 or 10 mg/kg) also showed increased hippocampal ChAT activity. Raloxifene failed to increase uterine weight and blocked the estrogen-induced increase in uterine weight, while another SERM, tamoxifen, increased uterine weight. These data demonstrate that raloxifene has estrogen-like properties on hippocampal ChAT activity in vivo, and suggest that benzothiophene SERMs may exert estrogen-like beneficial effects on cholinergic neurotransmission in brain without producing peripheral stimulation of breast or uterine tissue. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 13 1999


  • Choline acetyltransferase activity
  • Estrogen
  • Hippocampus
  • Raloxifene


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