Neuroprotective efficacy of estrogen in experimental spinal cord injury in rats

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Jun;1199:90-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05357.x.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to neurological deficits and motor dysfunction. Methylprednisolone, the only drug used for treating SCI, renders limited neuroprotection and remains controversial. Estrogen is one of the most potent multiactive neuroprotective agents and it is currently under investigation in our laboratory for its efficacy in SCI. The present review briefly summarizes our earlier findings on the therapeutic potential of pharmacological/supraphysiological levels of estrogen in SCI and outlines our ongoing research, highlighting the efficacy of physiological levels of estrogen against neuronal injury, axonal degeneration, and gliosis and also the molecular mechanisms of such neuroprotection in experimental SCI. Furthermore, our ongoing studies designed to explore the different translational potential of estrogen therapy suggest that this multiactive steroid may act as an adjunct therapy to promote angiogenesis, thus enhancing the functional recovery following chronic SCI. Taken together, these studies confirm that estrogen is a potential therapeutic agent for treating SCI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Estrogens / physiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology*


  • Estrogens
  • Neuroprotective Agents