Estrogens: trophic and protective factors in the adult brain

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2001 Jan;22(1):33-66. doi: 10.1006/frne.2000.0207.


Our appreciation that estrogens are important neurotrophic and neuroprotective factors has grown rapidly. Although a thorough understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie this effect requires further investigation, significant progress has been made due to the availability of animal models in which we can test potential candidates. It appears that estradiol can act via mechanisms that require classical intracellular receptors (estrogen receptor alpha or beta) that affect transcription, via mechanisms that include cross-talk between estrogen receptors and second messenger pathways, and/or via mechanisms that may involve membrane receptors or channels. This area of research demands attention since estradiol may be an important therapeutic agent in the maintenance of normal neural function during aging and after injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Estradiol / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / physiology
  • Second Messenger Systems / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Estradiol