Estradiol Membrane-Initiated Signaling in the Brain Mediates Reproduction

Trends Neurosci. 2017 Nov;40(11):654-666. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


Over the past few years our understanding of estrogen signaling in the brain has expanded rapidly. Estrogens are synthesized in the periphery and in the brain, acting on multiple receptors to regulate gene transcription, neural function, and behavior. Various estrogen-sensitive signaling pathways often operate in concert within the same cell, increasing the complexity of the system. In females, estrogen concentrations fluctuate over the estrous/menstrual cycle, dynamically modulating estrogen receptor (ER) expression, activity, and trafficking. These dynamic changes influence multiple behaviors but are particularly important for reproduction. Using the female rodent model, we review our current understanding of estradiol signaling in the regulation of sexual receptivity.

Keywords: ERα; GPER; caveolin; estrogen feedback; lordosis behavior; mGluR.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Reproduction / physiology*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Estradiol