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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 9802086, 11 pages
Research Article

Aromatase Expression in the Hippocampus of AD Patients and 5xFAD Mice

1Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA
2Institute of Neuroanatomy, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
3Institute of Neuropathology, University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

Received 9 December 2015; Revised 26 March 2016; Accepted 5 April 2016

Academic Editor: Ayanabha Chakraborti

Copyright © 2016 Janine Prange-Kiel 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.


Numerous studies show that 17β-estradiol (E2) protects against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) induced neurodegeneration. The E2-synthesizing enzyme aromatase is expressed in healthy hippocampi, but although the hippocampus is severely affected in AD, little is known about the expression of hippocampal aromatase in AD. To better understand the role of hippocampal aromatase in AD, we studied its expression in postmortem material from patients with AD and in a mouse model for AD (5xFAD mice). In human hippocampi, aromatase-immunoreactivity was observed in the vast majority of principal neurons and signal quantification revealed higher expression of aromatase protein in AD patients compared to age- and sex-matched controls. The tissue-specific first exons of aromatase I.f, PII, I.3, and I.6 were detected in hippocampi of controls and AD patients by RT-PCR. In contrast, 3-month-old, female 5xFAD mice showed lower expression of aromatase mRNA and protein (measured by qRT-PCR and semiquantitative immunohistochemistry) than WT controls; no such differences were observed in male mice. Our findings stress the importance of hippocampal aromatase expression in neurodegenerative diseases.