← Back to Search
Neural Steroid Hormone Receptors
Published 1977 · Biology, Medicine
Abstract (1) Cell nuclear and cytoplasmic receptors for estrogens, androgens, and glucocorticoids have been identified in brains and pituitary glands of vertebrates. With respect to topography, estradiol (E 2 ) receptors are localized primarily in the hypophysiotrophic area and amygdala; 5-α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) receptors are found in hypothalamus and limbic regions in smaller amounts and more uniformly distributed than those for estradiol; and corticosterone receptors are found in the hippocampal formation, septum, entorhinal cortex and amygdala. (2) Where information is available, mainly for estrogen receptors, their neural topography shows a remarkable constancy among vertebrates. The neural topography of estrogen and glucocorticoid receptors of rat and rhesus monkey will be compared. (3) A complicating factor in the study of androgens interacting with the brain is the conversion of testosterone (T) in neural tissue to both estrogenic and androgenic metabolites. Two of the products, E 2 and DHT, are recovered attached to cell nuclear receptors in the rat brain, whereas only DHT and T itself are found in pituitary cell nuclei. Evidence from other laboratories suggests that interactions of E 2 and DHT or T with intracellular receptors each subserve different behavioral and neuroendocrine functions in the rat. (4) The topography of estrogen receptors in the rat brain provides an excellent opportunity for studying estrogen action on brain chemistry. Estrogen effects on monoamine oxidase, choline acetylase, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity will be described. The overall importance of the action of steroid hormones on gene expression will be briefly discussed.