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Trends Neurosci. 2005 Feb;28(2):79-85.

Similarities between actions of estrogen and BDNF in the hippocampus: coincidence or clue?

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Center for Neural Recovery and Rehabilitation Research, Helen Hayes Hospital, Route 9W, West Haverstraw, NY 10993-1195, USA.


The principal ovarian estrogen, estradiol, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have widespread effects on the CNS that have usually been studied independently. This article examines the similarities in the effects of estradiol and BDNF in the hippocampus, in light of the evidence that estradiol can induce BDNF expression, and recent data suggesting that structural and electrophysiological effects of estradiol in the hippocampus might be mediated by BDNF. The possible role of BDNF as a signaling molecule downstream of estrogen in the hippocampus has implications for our understanding of several cellular and behavioral hippocampal functions, including dendritic and synaptic plasticity, learning and cognitive behavior. Furthermore, disruption of the relationship between estrogen and BDNF could contribute to neurological and psychiatric disorders that have been associated with the hippocampus, such as Alzheimer's disease, depression and epilepsy.

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