The sexual dimorphism of life span and caloric restriction effects in numerous species suggest that estradiol (E2) is protective against oxidative damage. The only direct test of E2's protective effect in mice against in vivo oxidative stress to date may have been confounded by E2's direct chemical action as an antioxidant because it was administered at very high dosages. Therefore, we have identified a low yet physiologically effective dose ofE2. We then administered this dose using subcutaneous time-release pellets to ovariectomized mice. Two weeks after E2 pellet implantation, sham-operated, ovariectomized, and ovariectomized E2-supplemented female mice were injected with a lethal dose of paraquat and their survival was followed. It was observed that ovariectomy exacerbates paraquat-induced mortality and is rescued by E2 supplementation. An equivalent experiment was performed on sham-operated, orchidectomized, and E2-supplemenled orchidectomized male mice. The survival of male mice was improved by orchidectomy, and E2 gave no further benefit. We interpret the results to mean that E2 is protective against oxidative stress through its regulatory role and that testosterone diminishes protection against oxidative stress.
- Oxidative stress
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