IMR Press / FBL / Volume 16 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.2741/3805

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Physiological consequences of membrane-initiated estrogen signaling in the brain
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1 Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA
2 Division of Neuroscience, Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA

Academic Editor: Raquel Marin

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2011, 16(4), 1560–1573;
Published: 1 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Estrogen receptors in lipid raft signalling)

Many of the actions of 17beta-estradiol (E2) in the central nervous system (CNS) are mediated via the classical nuclear steroid receptors, ER(alpha) and ERbeta, which interact with the estrogen response element to modulate gene expression. In addition to the nuclear-initiated estrogen signaling, E2 signaling in the brain can occur rapidly within minutes prior to any sufficient effects on transcription of relevant genes. These rapid, membrane-initiated E2 signaling mechanisms have now been characterized in many brain regions, most importantly in neurons of the hypothalamus and hippocampus. Furthermore, our understanding of the physiological effects of membrane-initiated pathways is now a major field of interest in the hypothalamic control of reproduction, energy balance, thermoregulation and other homeostatic functions as well as the effects of E2 on physiological and pathophysiological functions of the hippocampus. Membrane signaling pathways impact neuronal excitability, signal transduction, cell death, neurotransmitter release and gene expression. This review will summarize recent findings on membrane-initiated E2 signaling in the hypothalamus and hippocampus and its contribution to the control of physiological and behavioral functions.

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