Studies in experimental animals have revealed important roles of neuroactive steroids in the control of central nervous system functions during physiological and pathological conditions, suggesting that they may represent good candidates for the development of neuroprotective strategies for neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Even if the characterization of the roles played by neuroactive steroids in humans is still at the beginning, several data are already available showing that they may be synthesized within the human CNS. Among the different enzymes, a prominent role is dedicated to aromatase that synthesizes estradiol whose neuroprotective effects have been described in experimental animals. Neuroactive steroid levels are modified by neurodegenerative conditions (i.e. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis) or in other mental diseases (i.e. schizophrenia), and may have an important role in physiological conditions, as the reorganization of grey and white matter during human puberty and adolescence or as a consequence of emotional responses. The interaction of some neuroactive steroids (i.e. allopregnenolone and isopregnenolone) with GABA-A receptor is particularly important in mood disorders. The presumptive role of estradiol and progesterone in neuroprotection is here discussed by comparing contradictory data that have been collected in humans. In conclusion, the state of the art of our knowledge of the role of neuroactive steroids in the normal and pathological human brain suggests several lines of future therapeutic developments in the treatments of neurological, neurodegenerative and affective disorders.

Neuroactive steroids: focus on the human brain

PANZICA, Giancarlo
2011

Abstract

Studies in experimental animals have revealed important roles of neuroactive steroids in the control of central nervous system functions during physiological and pathological conditions, suggesting that they may represent good candidates for the development of neuroprotective strategies for neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Even if the characterization of the roles played by neuroactive steroids in humans is still at the beginning, several data are already available showing that they may be synthesized within the human CNS. Among the different enzymes, a prominent role is dedicated to aromatase that synthesizes estradiol whose neuroprotective effects have been described in experimental animals. Neuroactive steroid levels are modified by neurodegenerative conditions (i.e. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis) or in other mental diseases (i.e. schizophrenia), and may have an important role in physiological conditions, as the reorganization of grey and white matter during human puberty and adolescence or as a consequence of emotional responses. The interaction of some neuroactive steroids (i.e. allopregnenolone and isopregnenolone) with GABA-A receptor is particularly important in mood disorders. The presumptive role of estradiol and progesterone in neuroprotection is here discussed by comparing contradictory data that have been collected in humans. In conclusion, the state of the art of our knowledge of the role of neuroactive steroids in the normal and pathological human brain suggests several lines of future therapeutic developments in the treatments of neurological, neurodegenerative and affective disorders.
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211
191
1
158
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03064522/191
Melcangi R.C.; Garcia-Segura L.M.; Panzica G.C.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/90944
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