Neurotrophin alterations have been associated with normal aging and age-related neurodegenerative disease, as well as cognitive status. Estrogen influences expression of mRNA and protein of neurotrophins and their receptors, and affects cognitive performance in young ovariectomized (Ovx) rats. The current investigation evaluated whether estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone affects neurotrophin protein levels in cognitive brain regions in the aged Ovx rat. While estrogen treatment increased BDNF, NGF, and NT3 levels in entorhinal cortex, progesterone abated the effects of estrogen resulting in neurotrophin levels comparable to aged Ovx rats not given hormone. Our findings suggest that the aged female brain is responsive to estrogen in cognitive brain regions, and that progesterone can reverse these estrogen effects.
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