Aromatase in the brain: not just for reproduction anymore

J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Jun;20(6):705-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01713.x.


Aromatase, the enzyme that synthesises oestrogens from androgen precursors, is expressed in the brain, where it has been classically associated with the regulation of neuroendocrine events and behaviours linked with reproduction. Recent findings, however, have revealed new unexpected roles for brain aromatase, indicating that the enzyme regulates synaptic activity, synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis and the response of neural tissue to injury, and may contribute to control nonreproductive behaviours, mood and cognition. Therefore, the function of brain aromatase is not restricted to the regulation of reproduction as previously thought.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aromatase / metabolism*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Estrogens / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / metabolism
  • Reproduction
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Testosterone / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Testosterone
  • Aromatase