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Int Rev Neurobiol. 2001;46:33-78.

Biosynthesis of neurosteroids and regulation of their synthesis.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Center for Reproductive Sciences, Metabolic Research Unit, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0556, USA.


The brain, like the gonads, adrenal glands, and placenta, is a steroidogenic organ. The steroids synthesized by the brain and by the nervous system, given the name neurosteroids, have a wide variety of diverse functions. In general, they mediate their actions not through classic steroid hormone nuclear receptors but through ion-gated neurotransmitter receptors. This chapter summarizes the biochemistry of the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of neurosteroids, their localization during development and in adulthood, and the regulation of their expression, highlighting both similarities and differences between expression in the brain and in classic steroidogenic tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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