Estrogens of multiple classes and their role in mental health disease mechanisms

Cheryl Watson, Rebecca A. Alyea, Kathryn A. Cunningham, Yow Jiun Jeng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Gender and sex hormones can influence a variety of mental health states, including mood, cognitive development and function, and vulnerability to neurodegenerative diseases and brain damage. Functions of neuronal cells may be altered by estrogens depending upon the availability of different physiological estrogenic ligands; these ligands and their effects vary with life stages, the genetic or postgenetic regulation of receptor levels in specific tissues, or the intercession of competing nonphysiological ligands (either intentional or unintentional, beneficial to health or not). Here we review evidence for how different estrogens (physiological and environmental/dietary), acting via different estrogen receptor subtypes residing in alternative subcellular locations, influence brain functions and behavior. We also discuss the families of receptors and transporters for monoamine neurotransmitters and how they may interact with the estrogenic signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain function
  • Estrogen receptor α
  • Estrogen receptor β
  • GPER
  • GPR30
  • Neurotransmitter receptors
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Transporters
  • Xenoestrogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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