Rapid control of male typical behaviors by brain-derived estrogens

Charlotte A. Cornil, Gregory F. Ball, Jacques Balthazart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Beside their genomic mode of action, estrogens also activate a variety of cellular signaling pathways through non-genomic mechanisms. Until recently, little was known regarding the functional significance of such actions in males and the mechanisms that control local estrogen concentration with a spatial and time resolution compatible with these non-genomic actions had rarely been examined. Here, we review evidence that estrogens rapidly modulate a variety of behaviors in male vertebrates. Then, we present in vitro work supporting the existence of a control mechanism of local brain estrogen synthesis by aromatase along with in vivo evidence that rapid changes in aromatase activity also occur in a region-specific manner in response to changes in the social or environmental context. Finally, we suggest that the brain estrogen provision may also play a significant role in females. Together these data bolster the hypothesis that brain-derived estrogens should be considered as neuromodulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-446
Number of pages22
JournalFrontiers in Neuroendocrinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Aromatase
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Male behavior
  • Non-genomic effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid control of male typical behaviors by brain-derived estrogens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this