Reference : Is brain estradiol a hormone or a neurotransmitter?
Scientific journals : Letter to the editor
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Is brain estradiol a hormone or a neurotransmitter?
Balthazart, Jacques mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences biomédicales et précliniques > Biologie de la différenciation sexuelle du cerveau >]
Ball, G. F. [> > > >]
Trends in Neurosciences
Elsevier Science London
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] Appetitive Behavior/physiology ; Appetitive Behavior/physiology ; Aromatase/metabolism ; Brain/enzymology/physiology ; Estradiol/physiology ; Female ; Hormones/physiology ; Humans ; Intracellular Fluid/metabolism ; Male ; Neurotransmitter Agents/physiology ; Sexual Behavior, Animal/physiology ; Signal Transduction/physiology
[en] Mounting evidence indicates that, besides their well-known hormonal mode of action at the genetic level, estrogens such as 17 beta-estradiol also influence brain function by direct effects on neuronal membranes. Experimentally induced rapid changes in estradiol bioavailability in the brain have been shown to alter the expression of male sexual behavior significantly within minutes - probably too quickly to be accounted for by conventional genetic mechanisms. In parallel, recent studies indicate that aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol in the brain, is expressed in presynaptic terminals and modulated within minutes by Ca2+-dependent phosphorylation. In this article, we develop the hypothesis that brain estrogens display many, if not all, functional characteristics of neuromodulators or even neurotransmitters.

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