The striatal brain regions, including the caudate–putamen, nucleus accumbens core, and nucleus accumbens shell, mediate critical behavioral functions. These functions include motivated behavior, learning, and sensorimotor function in both pathological and normal contexts. The phenotype and/or incidence of all of these behaviors differ by sex and/or are sensitive to gonadal hormones such as 17β-estradiol. Here we present a brief review of recent literature regarding sex differences and effects of 17β-estradiol on behavioral and neural function across striatal regions. We emphasize recent findings in striatal-relevant behaviors and disorders, striatal neuron dendritic spine density, and striatal neuron electrophysiology. These recent advances collectively offer insight into the effects of sex and estrogen on striatal function, especially at the level of individual neurons.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by NIH DA013680 and NSF IOS 1256799 to RLM, NIH DA035008 to PGM and RLM, NIH DA41808 to PGM, and NIH MH109471 to JM.