Activation of membrane-associated estrogen receptors (mER) decreases food and water intake in female rats. Additional studies suggest these effects are mediated, at least in part, by membrane-associated estrogen receptor alpha (ERα). Nevertheless, the critical site of action and the intracellular signaling required for the ingestive effects of ERα remain unclear. Estradiol given to the medial preoptic area (mPOA) decreases ingestive behaviors, and membrane-associated ERα has been shown to affect intracellular signaling through interactions with metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) subtypes, but an involvement of this signaling pathway, in the mPOA, in ingestive behavior remains untested. To address these open questions, we first showed that activation of mER in the mPOA decreased both overnight food and water intake, and did so in a time course consistent with a genomic mechanism of action. Next, we tested the requirement of mGluR1a signaling in the mPOA for the anorexigenic and anti-dipsogenic effects of estradiol. As expected, estradiol in the mPOA decreased food intake, but only in the absence of an mGluR1a antagonist. The same was not true for estradiol effects on water intake, which were unaffected by an mGluR1a antagonist. These results suggest that estrogens require mGluR activation for at least some of their effects on ingestive behaviors, and indicate that the mPOA is a critical site of action. The results also reveal an interesting divergence in the estrogenic control of ingestive behavior by which mGluR signaling in the mPOA plays a role in the control of food intake, but not water intake.
Keywords: Food intake; Membrane estrogen receptors; Water intake.
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