Factors influencing the cognitive and neural effects of hormone treatment during aging in a rodent model

Nioka C. Chisholm, Janice M. Juraska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether hormone treatment alters brain structure or has beneficial effects on cognition during aging has recently become a topic of debate. Although previous research has indicated that hormone treatment benefits memory in menopausal women, several newer studies have shown no effect or detrimental effects. These inconsistencies emphasize the need to evaluate the role of hormones in protecting against age-related cognitive decline in an animal model. Importantly, many studies investigating the effects of estrogen and progesterone on cognition and related brain regions have used young adult animals, which respond differently than aged animals. However, when only the studies that have examined the effects of hormone treatment in an aging model are reviewed, there are still varied behavioral and neural outcomes. This article reviews some of the important factors that can influence the behavioral and neural outcomes of hormone treatment including the type of estrogen administered, whether or not estrogen is combined with progesterone and if so, the type of progesterone used, as well as the route, mode, and length of treatment. How these factors influence cognitive outcomes highlights the importance of study design and avoiding generalizations from a small number of studies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Hormone Therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Jun 13 2013


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen
  • Hippocampus
  • Medroxyprogesterone
  • Memory
  • Menopause
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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