Estrogen synthesis and signaling pathways during aging: from periphery to brain

Trends Mol Med. 2013 Mar;19(3):197-209. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2012.12.007. Epub 2013 Jan 22.


Estrogens are the primary female sex hormones and play important roles in both reproductive and non-reproductive systems. Estrogens can be synthesized in non-reproductive tissues such as liver, heart, muscle, bone and brain, and tissue-specific estrogen synthesis is consistent with a diversity of estrogen actions. In this article we review tissue and cell-specific estrogen synthesis and estrogen receptor signaling in three parts: (i) synthesis and metabolism, (ii) the distribution of estrogen receptors and signaling, and (iii) estrogen functions and related disorders, including cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Parkinson disease (PD). This comprehensive review provides new insights into estrogens by giving a better understanding of the tissue-specific estrogen effects and their roles in various diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Estrogens / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen