Estrogens and Estrogen-Like Non-Feminizing Compounds: Their Role in the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease


Present address and address for correspondence: Dr. James W. Simpkins, Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Voice: 817-735-2063; fax: 817-735-2091.


Abstract: The present position paper is intended to provide evidence that estrogen deprivation contributes to the occurrence and course of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and that currently available estrogen preparations may be useful in the prevention and treatment of AD in women. Additionally, there is now substantial preclinical evidence to support the development of novel non-feminizing estrogens for use in male and female subjects for the protection of neurons from damage and death that underlies the neuropathology of AD. Estrogens and non-feminizing estrogen-like compounds may exert their beneficial effects in AD through a variety of mechanisms, directly through their neuroprotective actions and indirectly through their neurotrophic effects. Inasmuch as estrogens are comparatively free of both acute and chronic toxicities, and non-feminizing estrogens are expected to be even safer, their use for years to decades for the prevention or treatment of AD is possible.