Treatment with resveratrol (RSV) has been shown to protect vulnerable neurons after various brain injuries and in neurodegenerative diseases. The mechanisms for the effects of RSV in brain are not fully understood, but RSV may affect the expression of various gene products. RSV is structurally related to the synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol so the effects of RSV may be gender-specific. Here we studied the role of RSV in the regulation of dopamine transporter (DAT) in the striatum using male and female mice. The basic levels of DAT in the striatum showed no sex difference, but the levels increased significantly by RSV (20 mg/kg i.p.) in female but not in male mice. Pretreatment of mice with the selective estrogen receptor (ER), ERα- and ERβ antagonist ICI 182,780, led to a complete block of RSV effect on DAT protein levels, suggesting that ERs are involved in the up-regulation of DAT by RSV. Similar data was also obtained in culture using human MESC2.10 and mouse SN4741 dopaminergic cells after treatment with RSV. Data further showed that RSV specifically induced gene transcription of DAT in the dopaminergic cells. These results show that estrogen receptors are involved in the up-regulation of DAT by RSV in the dopaminergic neurons, demonstrating a sex-dependent effect of RSV in the brain that may be of clinical importance. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'.
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