Neuroactive steroids: state of the art and new perspectives

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Mar;65(5):777-97. doi: 10.1007/s00018-007-7403-5.


Neuroactive steroids include synthetic steroidal compounds and endogenous steroids, produced by endocrine glands (hormonal steroids) or the nervous tissue (neurosteroids), which regulate neural functions. These steroids bind to nuclear receptors or act through the activation of membrane-associated signaling pathways to modulate various important processes including the development of the nervous system, neural plasticity and the adaptive responses of neurons and glial cells under pathological conditions. Reviewed and updated in the present paper are the pleiotropic and protective abilities of neuroactive steroids. The fundamental evidence and knowledge gained constitute a profound background that offers interesting possibilities for developing effective strategies against several disorders of the nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Steroids / pharmacology*


  • Steroids