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Front Neuroendocrinol. 2012 Jan;33(1):105-15. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2011.12.001. Epub 2011 Dec 24.

Neuroprotective effects of estrogens and androgens in CNS inflammation and neurodegeneration.

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University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Neurology, UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program, 635 Charles E Young Drive South, Neuroscience Research Building 1, Room 479, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease characterized by inflammation and demyelination. Currently, the cause of MS is unknown. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the most common mouse model of MS. Treatments with the sex hormones, estrogens and androgens, are capable of offering disease protection during EAE and are currently being used in clinical trials of MS. Beyond endogenous estrogens and androgens, treatments with selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) for estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) are also capable of providing disease protection. This protection includes, but is not limited to, prevention of clinical disease, reduction of CNS inflammation, protection against demyelination, and protection against axonal loss. In EAE, current efforts are focused on using conditional cell specific knockouts of sex hormone receptors to identify the in vivo targets of these estrogens and androgens as well as downstream molecules responsible for disease protection.

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