Ovarian estrogen acts to feminize the female rat's corpus callosum

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1993 Jan 15;71(1):115-9. doi: 10.1016/0165-3806(93)90112-n.


The rat corpus callosum (CC) is sexually dimorphic, with the male CC being larger. Ovariectomy (Ovx) on day 12 has been shown to eliminate this sex difference, with callosal values of Ovx females approaching those of male controls. This suggested that postnatal ovarian estrogen affects the size of the female CC. In the present experiment, one group of female rats received Ovx on day 12, and a second group received Ovx followed by chronic implantation of a silastic tube containing beta-estradiol on day 25. Unmanipulated males and sham females served as controls. Examination of the CC at 110 days confirmed our prior findings that males have larger callosa than females and that the Ovx group had increased CC's compared to sham controls. Our new finding was that estrogen treatment was capable of reversing the effects of Ovx. Ovx+estrogen-treated females had decreased CC size as compared to Ovx alone. Indeed, they also had smaller CC values than control females. These findings indicate that ovarian estrogen plays a role in determining CC morphology and that estrogen in the female acts to inhibit overall callosal growth as measured by changes in gross callosal size.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Callosum / drug effects
  • Corpus Callosum / growth & development*
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovariectomy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Silicone Elastomers


  • Estrogens
  • Silicone Elastomers