Hippocampal dysfunction contributes to multiple traumatic brain injury sequala. Female rodents’ outcome is superior to male which has been ascribed the neuroprotective sex hormones 17β-estradiol and progesterone. Cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) is an oxidative enzyme influencing the neuroinflammatory response by creating inflammatory mediators and metabolizing neuroprotective 17β-estradiol and progesterone. In this study, we aimed to describe hippocampal CYP1B1 mRNA expression, protein presence of CYP1B1 and its key redox partner Cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) in both sexes, as well as the effect of penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI). A total 64 adult Sprague Dawley rats divided by sex received pTBI or sham-surgery and were assigned survival times of 1-, 3-, 5- or 7 days. CYP1B1 mRNA was quantified using in-situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry performed to verify protein colocalization. CYP1B1 mRNA expression was present in all subregions but greatest in CA2 irrespective of sex, survival time or intervention. At 3-, 5- and 7 days post-injury, expression in CA2 was reduced in male rats subjected to pTBI compared to sham-surgery. Females subjected to pTBI instead exhibited increased expression in all CA subregions 3 days post-injury, the only time point expression in CA2 was greater in females than in males. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed neuronal CYP1B1 protein in all hippocampal subregions, while CPR was limited to CA1 and CA2. CYP1B1 mRNA is constitutively expressed in both sexes. In response to pTBI, females displayed a more urgent but brief regulatory response than males. This indicates there may be sex-dependent differences in CYP1B1 activity, possibly influencing inflammation and neuroprotection in pTBI.
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