Oestrogen as a neuroprotective hormone

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jun;3(6):433-42. doi: 10.1038/nrn846.

Abstract

In addition to its role as a sex hormone, oestrogen affects the structure and function of the nervous system. Oestrogen receptors are expressed in brain regions that are involved in sex differentiation and maturation. But in addition to its well-known effects, oestrogen also has important neuroprotective actions that are both dependent and independent of a nuclear oestrogen-receptor activity. Furthermore, oestrogen can interact with neuroprotective intracellular signalling pathways and is itself a neuroprotective antioxidant. Understanding the mechanisms of oestrogen action will be crucial to determine its potential as a therapeutic agent, particularly in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Postmenopause / drug effects*
  • Postmenopause / genetics
  • Postmenopause / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen / agonists
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology

Substances

  • Estrogens
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Receptors, Estrogen