Gender differences in modulatory effects of tamoxifen upon the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Jan;80(1):27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2004.10.007.


It has been demonstrated that the gonadal steroid hormone estrogen can exert neuroprotective effects upon the nigrostriatal dopaminergic (NSDA) system against methamphetamine (MA)-induced neurotoxicity in female, but not male, mice. In contrast, the anti-estrogen, tamoxifen (TMX) can function as a NSDA neuroprotectant within both female and male mice. In an attempt to understand these effects of TMX, the effects of this anti-estrogen upon both behavioral and neurochemical indices of NSDA function were examined within female and male mice following treatment with MA. In general, TMX exerted markedly different (bi-directional) effects upon NSDA function between female and male mice. Notably, treatment with TMX resulted in a relative decrease in striatal dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) concentrations within male mice and a relative increase in female mice when treated with MA to produce a significant gender difference. Similar effects were obtained for locomotor behaviors related with NSDA function. That is, TMX produced increases in horizontal activity, number of movements and total distance traveled within MA-treated female mice resulting in statistically significant gender differences for the two former parameters. For non-locomotor behaviors, like time occupying the center and margin of the cage, TMX-treated male mice showed statistically significant increases and decreases compared within TMX-treated female mice, respectively. These results show that in contrast to the similar neuroprotective effects of TMX upon MA-induced NSDA neurotoxicity, a number of other NSDA indices induced by MA show markedly different response profiles between TMX-treated female and male mice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Substantia Nigra / drug effects*
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*


  • Tamoxifen
  • Dopamine