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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2012, Article ID 309494, 6 pages
Research Article

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators Regulate Dendritic Spine Plasticity in the Hippocampus of Male Rats

1Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Occidente, Guadalajara, Jalisco 44340, Mexico
2CUCBA, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco 45100, Mexico
3Instituto Cajal, CSIC, 28002 Madrid, Spain

Received 19 July 2011; Accepted 12 August 2011

Academic Editor: Irina Nikonenko

Copyright © 2012 Ignacio González-Burgos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Some selective estrogen receptor modulators, such as raloxifene and tamoxifen, are neuroprotective and reduce brain inflammation in several experimental models of neurodegeneration. In addition, raloxifene and tamoxifen counteract cognitive deficits caused by gonadal hormone deprivation in male rats. In this study, we have explored whether raloxifene and tamoxifen may regulate the number and geometry of dendritic spines in CA1 pyramidal neurons of the rat hippocampus. Young adult male rats were injected with raloxifene (1 mg/kg), tamoxifen (1 mg/kg), or vehicle and killed 24 h after the injection. Animals treated with raloxifene or tamoxifen showed an increased numerical density of dendritic spines in CA1 pyramidal neurons compared to animals treated with vehicle. Raloxifene and tamoxifen had also specific effects in the morphology of spines. These findings suggest that raloxifene and tamoxifen may influence the processing of information by hippocampal pyramidal neurons by affecting the number and shape of dendritic spines.