Intranasal 17β-estradiol modulates spatial learning and memory in a rat model of surgical menopause

Alesia V. Prakapenka, Veronica L. Peña, Isabel Strouse, Steven Northup-Smith, Ally Schrier, Kinza Ahmed, Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Rachael W. Sirianni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Exogenously administered 17β-estradiol (E2) can improve spatial learning and memory, although E2 also exerts undesired effects on peripheral organs. Clinically, E2 has been solubilized in cyclodextrin for intranasal administration, which enhances brain-specific delivery. Prior work shows that the cyclodextrin structure impacts region-specific brain distribution of intranasally administered small molecules. Here, we investigated (1) cyclodextrin type-specific modulation of intranasal E2 brain distribution, and (2) cognitive and peripheral tissue effects of intranasal E2 in middle-aged ovariectomized rats. First, brain and peripheral organ distribution of intranasally administered, tritiated E2 was measured for E2 solubilized freely or in one of four cyclodextrin formulations. The E2-cyclodextrin formulation with greatest E2 uptake in cognitive brain regions versus uterine horns was then compared to free E2 on learning, memory, and uterine measures. Free E2 improved spatial reference memory, whereas E2-cyclodextrin impaired spatial working memory compared to their respective controls. Both E2 formulations increased uterine horn weights relative to controls, with E2-cyclodextrin resulting in the greatest uterine horn weight, suggesting increased uterine stimulation. Thus, intranasal administration of freely solubilized E2 is a strategic delivery tool that can yield a cognitively beneficial impact of the hormone alongside decreased peripheral effects compared to intranasal administration of cyclodextrin solubilized E2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1225
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Cyclodextrin
  • Delivery
  • Estrogen
  • Intranasal
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Menopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Intranasal 17β-estradiol modulates spatial learning and memory in a rat model of surgical menopause'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this