Estradiol: A hormone with diverse and contradictory neuroprotective actions

Phyllis M. Wise, Shotaro Suzuki, Candice M. Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    The concept that estrogens exert important neuroprotective actions has gained considerable attention during the past decade. Numerous studies have provided a deep understanding of the seemingly contradictory actions of estrogens. We realize more than ever that the effects of estrogens (with and without simultaneous or sequential progestins) are diverse and sometimes opposite, depending on the use of different estrogenic and progestinic compounds, on different delivery routes, on different concentrations, on treatment sequence, and on the age and health status of the women who receive hormone therapy. During the past few years, we have gained an increasing appreciation of the impact of estrogens on the immune system and on inflammation. In addition, we have learned that estrogens cannot only protect against cell death, but can also stimulate the birth of new neurons. Here we posit the concept that estrogen's modulation of the immune status may be the basic mechanism that underlies its ability to protect against neurodegeneration and its powerful neuroregenerative actions. We hope that this update will encourage even richer dialogues between basic and clinical scientists to ensure that future clinical studies fully consider the information that can be derived from basic science studies. Only then will we have a better understanding of the impact of hormones on the menopausal and postmenopausal period in a woman's life.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)297-303
    Number of pages7
    JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2009


    • Animal model
    • Brain injury
    • Cell death
    • Estradiol
    • Estrogen therapy
    • Immune system
    • Inflammation
    • Menopause
    • Neurogenesis
    • Neuroprotection
    • Stroke

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry


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