Role of astroglia in the neuroplastic and neuroprotective actions of estradiol

Authors


L. M. Garcia-Segura, as above.
E-mail: lmgs@cajal.csic.es

Abstract

Astrocyte–neuron cross-talk is an essential component of the mechanisms involved in the neuroendocrine and neuroprotective actions of estradiol. Astrocytes express estrogen receptors, show morphological and functional modifications in response to estradiol and participate in the hormonal regulation of synaptic plasticity and neuroendocrine events. In addition, estradiol interferes with the activation of astrocytes under pathological conditions, modulating the release of neurotrophic factors and inflammatory molecules by these cells. Furthermore, under neurodegenerative conditions, astrocytes synthesize estradiol, which acts as a local neuroprotectant. The actions of estradiol on astrocytes can be imitated by selective estrogen receptor modulators. Some of these molecules, which are free of the peripheral risks associated with estrogen therapy, exert estradiol-like anti-inflammatory actions on astrocytes and are potential therapeutic candidates for the control of reactive astrogliosis.

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