Estrogen Replacement Increases Spinophilin-immunoreactive Spine Number in the Prefrontal Cortex of Female Rhesus Monkeys

Yong Tang, William G.M. Janssen, Jiandong Hao, Jeffrey A. Roberts, Heather McKay, Bill Lasley, Patrick B. Allen, Paul Greengard, Peter R. Rapp, Jeffrey H. Kordower, Patrick R. Hof, John H. Morrisonn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


While studies have shown that estrogen affects hippocampal spine density and function, behavioral studies in humans and nonhuman primates have also implicated the prefrontal cortex in the effects of estrogen on cognition. However, the potential for similar estrogen-induced increases in spines and synapses in the prefrontal cortex has not been investigated in primates. Moreover, it is not known if such an estrogen effect would be manifested throughout the neocortex or primarily in the regions involved in cognition. Therefore, we investigated the effects of estrogen on dendritic spines in the prefrontal and primary visual cortices of young rhesus monkeys. Young female monkeys were ovariectomized and administered either estradiol cypionate or vehicle by intramuscular injection. Using an antibody against the spine-associated protein, spinophilin, spine numbers were estimated in layer I of area 46 and in layer I of the opercular portion of area V1 (V1o). Spine numbers in layer I of area 46 were significantly increased (55%) in the ovariectomy + estrogen group compared to the ovariectomy + vehicle group, yet spine numbers in layer I of area V1o were equivalent across the two groups. The present results suggest that estrogen's effects on synaptic organization influence select neocortical layers and regions in a primate model, and provide a morphological basis for enhanced prefrontal cortical functions following estrogen replacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Dendritic spines
  • Hormone replacement
  • Macaque monkey
  • Plasticity
  • Steroids
  • Visual cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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