Sex Hormones and Brain Dopamine Functions
Georgina M. Renard,
Victor D. Ramirez.
Sex hormones exert differential effects on a variety of sensitive tissues like the reproductive
tract, gonads, liver, bone and adipose tissue, among others. In the brain, sex hormones act as neuroactive
steroids regulating the function of neuroendocrine diencephalic structures like the hypothalamus. In
addition, steroids can exert physiological effects upon cortical, limbic and midbrain structures, influencing different
behaviors such as memory, learning, mood and reward. In the last three decades, the role of sex hormones on monoamine
neurotransmitters in extra-hypothalamic areas related to motivated behaviors, learning and locomotion has been the focus
of much research. The purpose of this thematic issue is to present the state of art concerning the effects of sex hormones
on the neurochemical regulation of dopaminergic midbrain areas involved in neurobiological and pathological processes,
such as addiction to drugs of abuse. We also discuss evidence of how neonatal exposure to sex hormones or endocrine
disrupting chemicals can produce long-term changes on the neurochemical regulation of dopaminergic neurons in the
limbic and midbrain areas.
Keywords: Dopamine, dopamine transporter, estradiol, neurochemistry, progesterone, reward, testosterone, tyrosine
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