Development and Characterization of Inducible Astrocyte-Specific Aromatase Knockout Mice

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17β-estradiol (E2) is produced in the brain as a neurosteroid, in addition to being an endocrine signal in the periphery. The current animal models for studying brain-derived E2 include global and conditional non-inducible knockout mouse models. The aim of this study was to develop a tamoxifen (TMX)-inducible astrocyte-specific aromatase knockout mouse line (GFAP-ARO-iKO mice) to specifically deplete the E2 synthesis enzymes and aromatase in astrocytes after their development in adult mice. The characterization of the GFAP-ARO-iKO mice revealed a specific and robust depletion in the aromatase expressions of their astrocytes and a significant decrease in their hippocampal E2 levels after a GCI. The GFAP-ARO-iKO animals were alive and fertile and had a normal general brain anatomy, with a normal astrocyte shape, intensity, and distribution. In the hippocampus, after a GCI, the GFAP-ARO-iKO animals showed a major deficiency in their reactive astrogliosis, a dramatically increased neuronal loss, and increased microglial activation. These findings indicate that astrocyte-derived E2 (ADE2) regulates the ischemic induction of reactive astrogliosis and microglial activation and is neuroprotective in the ischemic brain. The GFAP-ARO-iKO mouse models thus provide an important new model to help elucidate the roles and functions of ADE2 in the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number621
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • aromatase
  • astrocyte
  • cerebral ischemia
  • estradiol
  • microglia
  • neuroestrogen
  • neurosteroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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