, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 191–197

Age-related changes in neuroprotection

Is estrogen pro-inflammatory for the reproductive senescent brain?

DOI: 10.1385/ENDO:29:2:191

Cite this article as:
Sohrabji, F. & Bake, S. Endocr (2006) 29: 191. doi:10.1385/ENDO:29:2:191


Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is widely prescribed to postmenopausal women for relief from the adverse vasomotor effects of menopause, to reduce bone loss, to improve cardiovascular health, and to protect against metabolic disorders. However, there is now greater awareness of the increased risk to benefit ratio from the recently concluded Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), which reported that ERT increased the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly women. Studies from the experimental literature indicate that while estrogen is neuroprotective in many instances, estrogen replacement can be deleterious in some cases. These differences may be partly due to the age and species of the experimental model. The majority of the experimental data comes from studies where the age or endocrine status of the animal model is not comparable to that of menopausal or postmenopausal women, such as those in the WHIMS study. In this review, we will focus on age-related changes in estrogen's neuroprotective effects and evidence that reproductive senescence-related changes in the blood-brain barrier and the immune system may result in deleterious consequences for ERT.

Key Words

Reproductive senescent blood-brain barrier neuroinflammation microglia hormone replacement therapy 

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neuroscience and Experimental TherapeuticsTAMHSC College of MedicineCollege Station
  2. 2.Department of Human Anatomy & Medical NeurobiologyTAMHSC College of MedicineCollege Station

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