Action of estrogen on survival of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons: promoting amelioration

István M Abrahám, Zsombor Koszegi, Emeline Tolod-Kemp, Eva M Szego

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Extensive studies during the past two decades provide compelling evidence that the gonadal steroid, estrogen, has the potential to affect the viability of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. These observations reflect a unique ameliorative feature of estrogen as it restores and protects the cholinergic neurons against noxious stimuli or neurodegenerative processes. Hence, we first address the ameliorative function of estrogen on basal forebrain cholinergic neurons such as the actions of estrogen on neuronal plasticity of cholinergic neurons, estrogen-induced memory enhancement and the ameliorative role of estrogen on cholinergic neuron related neurodegenerative processes such as Alzheimer's disease. Second, we survey recent data as to possible mechanisms underlying the ameliorative actions of estrogen; influencing the amyloid precursor protein processing, enhancement in neurotrophin receptor signaling and estrogen-induced non-classical actions on second messenger systems. In addition, clinical relevance, pitfalls and future aspects of estrogen therapy on basal forebrain cholinergic neurons will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S104-12
Volume34 Suppl 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer Disease/drug therapy
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides/metabolism
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Fibers/physiology
  • Cognition/drug effects
  • Estrogens/pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Growth Factors/metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity/physiology
  • Neuroprotective Agents/pharmacology
  • Prosencephalon/drug effects
  • Signal Transduction/physiology


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