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Neurotrophic and neuroprotective actions of estrogens and their therapeutic implications.

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  • 1Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Originally known for its regulation of reproductive functions, estradiol, a lipophilic hormone that can easily cross plasma membranes as well as the blood-brain barrier, maintains brain systems subserving arousal, attention, mood, and cognition. In addition, both synthetic and natural estrogens exert neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects. There is increasing evidence that estrogen actions are mediated by nongenomic as well as direct and indirect genomic pathways. Although in vitro models have provided the most extensive evidence for neurotrophic and neuroprotective actions to date, there are also in vivo studies that support these actions.

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