Epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic problems worldwide. In spite of the many studies carried out, our understanding of generalized epileptogenesis remains far from complete. In recent years many data have clarified the effects of sexual hormones on brain excitability. Female and male sexual hormones may be considered pharmacoactive compounds that alter the seizure threshold, changing the frequency and semeiology of the seizures. In particular, estrogens may increase neuronal excitability while progesterone enhances inhibitions and increases the seizure threshold; on the other hand, androgens can decrease ictal activity in the human brain. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge in this field and highlights some of the prevailing hypotheses about the effects of sexual hormones on neuronal excitability analysing data from both animal and clinical studies.
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Verrotti, A., Latini, G., Manco, R. et al. Influence of sex hormones on brain excitability and epilepsy. J Endocrinol Invest 30, 797–803 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03350821