The role of specific estrogen receptors in mediating rapid estrogenic improvements of social learning in female mice
Social learning is a process by which an animal gains information from another; however much of the research on estrogens effects on learning focuses on individual learning tasks. We therefore examined the effects of 17-estradiol (17beta-E2) and agonists for the estrogen receptors (ERs) ER-alpha, ER-beta, and the G protein-coupled ER 1 (GPER1) on the social transmission of food preferences (STFP) task, within a time scale allowing us to determine the rapid effects of estrogens. General ER activation with 17beta-E2 rapidly improved social learning on this task. Specific activation of the GPER1 also rapidly improved social learning, suggesting that 17beta-E2 acts through the GPER1 to rapidly improve learning on the STFP. Activation of ER-alpha and ER-beta activation, however, induced some impairing effects on learning. Rapid estrogenic modulation of social learning in the STFP therefore likely depends on the receptors activated, as each ER differently affected learning on this task.