Neural-derived estradiol regulates brain plasticity

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In addition to be an ovarian hormone, estradiol is a neurosteroid synthesized by neural cells. The brain is a steroidogenic tissue that metabolizes testosterone to estradiol. The last step in the synthesis of estradiol is catalyzed by the enzyme aromatase, which is widely expressed in the brain of male and female animals and humans. Studies that have manipulated the expression or the activity of aromatase have revealed that brain-derived estradiol acts as a neuromodulator and regulates different forms of brain plasticity in male and female animals. The regulation of neuroplastic events by brain-derived estradiol probably participates in the effects of brain aromatase on behavior and cognition.