Rapid estrogen signaling in the brain: Implications for the fine-tuning of neuronal circuitry

Deepak P. Srivastava, Elizabeth M. Waters, Paul G. Mermelstein, Enikö A. Kramár, Tracey J. Shors, Feng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Rapid actions of estrogens were first described >40 years ago. However, the importance of rapid estrogen-mediated actions in the CNS is only now becoming apparent. Several lines of evidence demonstrate that rapid estrogen-mediated signaling elicits potent effects on molecular and cellular events, resulting in the "fine-tuning" of neuronal circuitry. At an ultrastructural level, the details of estrogen receptor localization and how these are regulated by the circulating hormone and age are now becoming evident. Furthermore, the mechanisms that allow membrane-associated estrogen receptors to couple with intracellular signaling pathways are also now being revealed. Elucidation of complex actions of rapid estrogen-mediated signaling on synaptic proteins, connectivity, and synaptic function in pyramidal neurons has demonstrated that this neurosteroid engages specific mechanisms in different areas of the brain. The regulation of synaptic properties most likely underlies the fine-tuning of neuronal circuitry. This in turn may influence how learned behaviors are encoded by different circuitry in male and female subjects. Importantly, as estrogens have been suggested as potential treatments of a number of disorders of the CNS, advancements in our understanding of rapid estrogen signaling in the brain will serve to aid in the development of potential novel estrogen-based treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16056-16063
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 9 2011


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