It is well established that aromatization constitutes an essential part of testosterone's signaling pathway in brain and that estrogen metabolites, often together with testosterone, organize and activate masculine neural circuits. This paper summarizes the current understanding regarding the distribution, regulation and function of brain aromatase in mammals. Data from our laboratory are presented that highlight the important function of aromatase in the regulation of androgen feedback sensitivity in non-human primates and the possible role that aromatase plays in determining the brain structure and sexual partner preferences of rams. In addition, new data is presented indicating that the capacity for aromatization in cortical astrocytes is associated with cell survival and may be important for neuroprotection. It is anticipated that a better appreciation of the physiological and pathophysiological functions of aromatase will lead to important clinical insights.