Past Issue

Volume 10, Number 2, Jul-Sep 2016, Pages: 190-195

Orexin Decreases Aromatase Gene Expression in The Hypothalamus of Androgenized Female Rats

Maliheh Salimi, M.Sc, 1, Zahra Alishah, M.Sc, 1, Homayoun Khazali, Ph.D, 1, *, Fariba Mahmoudi, Ph.D, 2,
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
Department of Biology, Facualty of Basic Sciences, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran
*Corresponding Address: P.O. Box: 1983963113 Department of Physiology Faculty of Biological Sciences Shahid Beheshti University Tehran Iran



Orexin is a hypothalamic orexigenic neuropeptide, which third cerebral injection of it mainly exerts inhibitory effects on reproductive functions. It increases significantly the Aromatase (Cyp19) gene expression in the hypothalamus of male rats. Aromatase is an enzyme which converts androgens to estradiol in the hypothalamus of rats. Prenatal or neonatal exposure of females to testosterone masculinizes the pattern of Cyp19 mRNA levels in adulthood. In the present study the effects of central injections of orexin-A on hypothalamic Cyp19 gene expression of adult female rats were investigated, while they had been androgenized on third day of postnatal life.

Materials and Methods

In this experimental study, twenty female Wistar rats received subcutaneous injections of testosterone propionate (50 µg/100 µl) on their third day of postnatal life. Adult androgenized rats weighing 180-220 g, received either 3 µl saline or one of 2, 4 or 8 µg/3 µl concentration of orexin via third cerebral ventricle. Five non-androgenized rats, as control group, received intra cerebral ventricle (ICV) injection of 3 µl saline. The hypothalamuses were dissected out and mean Cyp19 mRNA levels were determined by semi-quantitative real time-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. Data were analyzed by unpaired t test and one-way ANOVA using SPSS software, version 16.


Mean relative Cyp19 mRNA level was significantly increased in the hypothalamus of androgenized compared to non-androgenized female rats. Central injec- tions of 2, 4 or 8 µg/3 µl orexin decreased significantly the hypothalamic Cyp19 mRNA level of androgenized rats compared to androgenized-control groups.


The results suggested that the orexin may exert inhibitory effects on the gene expression of Cyp19 in the hypothalamus of neonatal androgenized female rats in adulthood.