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Neurosci Res. 1995 Dec;24(1):1-46.

Roles of steroid hormones and their receptors in structural organization in the nervous system.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan.


Due to their chemical properties, steroid hormones cross the blood-brain barrier where they have profound effects on neuronal development and reorganization both in invertebrates and vertebrates, including humans mediated through their receptors. Steroids play a crucial role in the organizational actions of cellular differentiation representing sexual dimorphism and apoptosis, and in the activational effects of phenotypic changes in association with structural plasticity. Their sites of action are primarily the genes themselves but some are coupled with membrane-bound receptor/ion channels. The effects of steroid hormones on gene transcription are not direct, and other cellular components interfere with their receptors through cross-talk and convergence of the signaling pathways in neurons. These genomic and non-genomic actions account for the divergent effects of steroid hormones on brain function as well as on their structure. This review looks again at and updates the tremendous advances made in recent decades on the study of the role of steroid (gonadal and adrenal) hormones and their receptors on developmental processes and plastic changes in the nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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