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Abstract #3535

Integration of neural networks activated by amphetamine in females with different estrogen levels: A functional imaging study in awake rats.

Dan Madularu 1 , Jason R. Yee 2 , William M. Kenkel 2 , Kelsey A. Moore 2 , Praveen Kulkarni 2 , Waqqas M. Shams 1 , Craig F. Ferris 2 , and Wayne G. Brake 1

1 Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 2 Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States

Previous studies demonstrate that schizophrenia symptomatology in women is dependent upon estrogen levels. Estrogen has beneficial properties when administered in conjunction with antipsychotics, and estrogen also alters dopamine neurotransmission in rats; suggesting a possible interaction between the two. The aim of the current study was to investigate this possible interaction using functional magnetic resonance imaging in awake, female rats. Amphetamine-sensitized, ovariectomized rats receiving no, low, or high levels of estradiol replacement were used, and changes in blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal were recorded over time in response to an acute amphetamine injection. Increasing levels of estradiol enhanced BOLD activation in pathways previously known to be implicated in schizophrenia symptomatology, such as the mesocorticolimbic, habenular and olfactory pathways as well as more widespread areas. We propose here the first comprehensive amphetamine activation map integrating brain regions where dopaminergic transmission is influenced by estrogen levels.

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