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Steroid hormone receptors: long- and short-term integrators of the internal milieu and the external environment.

Authors
  • Blaustein, J D1
  • 1 Neuroscience and Behavior Program and Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9271, USA. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Hormone and Metabolic Research
Publisher
Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2012
Volume
44
Issue
8
Pages
563–568
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1311605
PMID: 22549398
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Many of the influences of estrogens and progestins on the brain and behavior are mediated by estrogen receptors and progestin receptors, acting as transcriptional regulators. The homologous and heterologous regulation of the concentrations of these receptors by cognate hormones is well established. However, although they were discovered and characterized based on their binding to cognate hormone and their role in transcriptional regulation, steroid hormone receptors have a more complex role and serve many more functions than originally suspected. First, besides being regulated by steroid hormones, the intracellular concentrations of brain steroid hormone receptors are regulated by neurotransmitters, a pathway by which stimuli from the environment, including from conspecific animals, can modulate the concentration of particular steroid hormone receptors in subsets of cells. Further, besides being activated by cognate steroid hormones, the receptors can be activated by a variety of neurotransmitters and phosphorylation pathways, providing a route through which environmental stimulation can activate steroid-receptor-dependent functions in specific cells. In addition, the transcription factor, estrogen receptor-α, produced from the estrogen receptor-α gene, can be modified to be targeted to membranes, where it can signal via kinase pathways. Finally, developmental experiences, such as particular stressors during the pubertal period, can permanently remodel the brain's response to ovarian hormones, most likely by long-term changes in regulation of the receptors mediating those responses. In addition to their function in responding to cognate ligand, it is now more appropriate to think of steroid hormone receptors as integrators of a wide variety of signaling pathways.

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