Neonatal estrogen blockade prevents normal callosal responsiveness to estradiol in adulthood

Heather A. Bimonte, R. Holly Fitch, Victor H. Denenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The rat corpus callosum (CC) is larger in males than females, and is responsive to hormone manipulations during development. We previously demonstrated that P25 ovariectomy (Ovx) enlarged (defeminized) adult CC, while P70 ovary transfer (OvT) counteracted this enlarging effect, resulting in smaller (feminized) CC. Since OvT females were not Ovx'd until P25, they received some neonatal estrogen (E) exposure. Behavioral data suggest that adult responsiveness to ovarian hormones depends upon prior organization by neonatal E. It has not been determined whether a similar phenomenon occurs for the feminization of brain morphology. The current experiment examined whether our previous finding of adult CC responsiveness to ovarian hormones depended upon neonatal E exposure. We investigated this by assessing the effects of P70 ovarian hormone replacement (via ovary transfer or E pellet) in females that received either (1) normal ovarian hormone exposure until P25 Ovx, or (2) the E receptor blocker tamoxifen from birth to P25 Ovx. Females receiving normal neonatal hormone exposure responded to P70 E in the female- typical manner: E reduced CC size. In contrast, females receiving neonatal E blockade responded to adult E in the opposite manner: E increased CC size. As far as we are aware, this is the first report suggesting that neonatal E exposure organizes the female brain so that it responds normally to the organizing actions of E when later exposure occurs. These findings further challenge the traditional model of female brain development, which asserts that normal female brain organization occurs by default, in the absence of gonadal hormone exposure. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 30 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus callosum
  • Development
  • Estrogen
  • Feminization
  • Neonatal
  • Ovarian hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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