Microarrays comprise an efficient approach to discovering large numbers of differentially expressed mRNA transcripts in the CNS resulting from changes in hormonal milieu. We used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to examine the short- and long-term actions of estradiol (E(2)) on the transcriptomes from the medial basal hypothalamus and other brain regions of E(2)-treated (10 microg) adult female mice. Our results have revealed several unanticipated gene regulations. Most striking is lipocalin prostaglandin D(2) synthase (L-PGDS), which catalyzes the conversion of prostaglandin (PG) H(2) to PGD(2), a neuromodulator involved in a variety of functions, including sleep, pain, and odor responses. In situ hybridization revealed significant increases in L-PGDS expression in the arcuate and ventromedial nucleus of the medial basal hypothalamus compared with vehicle controls. The magnitude of these changes is approximately 2-fold and suggests a modulatory role for PGD(2) in E(2)-controlled neuroendocrine secretions and behaviors. Surprisingly, L-PGDS gene expression is reduced 2-fold after E(2) treatment in the ventrolateral preoptic area (VLPO), the suspected site of action for the sleep-promoting effects of PGD(2). Finally, whereas L-PGDS has been reported to be expressed primarily in oligodendrocytes of the adult rodent brain, we demonstrate, immunocytochemically, that L-PGDS is also expressed in a population of VLPO neurons. Thus, our data suggest the intriguing possibility that E(2) modulation of L-PGDS plays a role in the regulation of sleep-wake states through hitherto unknown mechanisms in VLPO neurons and through hormone-dependent neuronal-glial cooperation.