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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Brain damage, sex hormones and recovery: a new role for progesterone and estrogen?

Estrogen and progesterone, long considered for their roles as primary hormones in reproductive and maternal behavior, are now being studied as neuroprotective and neuroregenerative agents in stroke and traumatic brain injuries. Collectively, the hormones reduce the consequences of the injury cascade by enhancing anti-oxidant mechanisms, reducing excitotoxicity (altering glutamate receptor activity, reducing immune inflammation, providing neurotrophic support, stimulating axonal remyelinization), and enhancing synaptogenesis and dendritic arborization. Estrogen seems more effective as a prophylactic treatment in females at risk for cardiac and ischemic brain injury, whereas progesterone appears to be more helpful in the post-injury treatment of both male and female subjects with acute traumatic brain damage. However, a recent clinical trial with estradiol replacement therapy in elderly women that have a history of cerebrovascular disease, showed that this hormone was unable to protect against reoccurrence of ischemia or to reduce the incidence of mortality compared to a placebo.[1]


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