Estradiol is not only synthesized in the gonads but also in the brain. As a neurosteroid estradiol fulfills a variety of functions in the brain, presumably in conjunction with estrogen derived from the gonads. Its effects are classically mediated by genomic estrogen receptors (isoforms α and β). However, non-genomic estrogen effects, which may be mediated by membrane estrogen receptors, have also been described. Neuroprotective effects of estrogens are observed after cell damage in response to various insults. A variety of neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and serotonin, are affected by estradiol. Furthermore, synaptic plasticity of the hippocampus is regulated by the steroid. Estrogen synthesis and signaling targets may be of therapeutic use with regard to neurological diseases, i.e., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and depression.
- Neurodegenerative disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology