Send to

Choose Destination
Front Neuroendocrinol. 2012 Oct;33(4):388-402. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

Estrogens facilitate memory processing through membrane mediated mechanisms and alterations in spine density.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Hunter College of CUNY, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Estrogens exert sustained, genomically mediated effects on memory throughout the female life cycle, but here we review new studies documenting rapid effects of estradiol on memory, which are exerted through membrane-mediated mechanisms. Use of recognition memory tasks in rats shows that estrogens enhance memory consolidation within 1h. 17α-Estradiol is more potent than 17β-estradiol, and the dose response relationship between estrogens and memory is an inverted U shape. Use of specific estrogen receptor (ER) agonists suggests mediation by an ERβ-like membrane receptor. Enhanced memory is associated with increased spine density and altered noradrenergic activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus within 30 min of administration. The environmental chemical, bisphenol-A, rapidly antagonizes enhancements in memory in both sexes possibly through actions on spines. Thus, estradiol and related compounds exert rapid alterations in cognition through non-genomic mechanisms, a finding which may provide a basis for better understanding and treating memory impairments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center