It has been well documented that both estrogen and immune cells (CD4 + T cells) mediate neuroprotection in the mouse facial nerve axotomy model. Estrogen has been shown to play an important role in regulating the immune response. However, it is unclear whether immune cell-mediated neuroprotection is dependent on estrogen signaling. In this study, using FACS staining, we confirmed that the majority of CD4 + T cells express high levels of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα), suggesting that CD4 + T cell-mediated neuroprotection may be modulated by estrogen signaling. We previously found that immunodeficient Rag-2KO mice showed a significant increase in axotomy-induced facial motoneuron death compared to immunocompetent wild-type mice. Therefore, we investigated axotomy-induced facial motoneuron loss in immunodeficient Rag-2KO mice that received 17β-estradiol treatment or adoptive transfer of immune cells from mice lacking functional ERα. Our results indicate that while estradiol treatment failed to rescue facial motoneurons from axotomy-induced cell death in Rag-2KO mice, immune cells lacking ERα successfully restored facial motoneuron survival in Rag-2 KO mice to a wild-type level. Collectively, we concluded that CD4 + T cell-mediated neuroprotection is independent of estrogen action through ERα.
- CD4 T cell
- Facial motoneuron
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience