Mitochondrial mechanisms of estrogen neuroprotection

James W. Simpkins, Kun Don Yi, Shao Hua Yang, James A. Dykens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Mitochondria have become a primary focus in our search not only for the mechanism(s) of neuronal death but also for neuroprotective drugs and therapies that can delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease and other chronic neurodegenerative conditions. This is because mitochrondria play a central role in regulating viability and death of neurons, and mitochondrial dysfunction has been shown to contribute to neuronal death seen in neurodegenerative diseases. In this article, we review the evidence for the role of mitochondria in cell death and neurodegeneration and provide evidence that estrogens have multiple effects on mitochondria that enhance or preserve mitochondrial function during pathologic circumstances such as excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and others. As such, estrogens and novel non-hormonal analogs have come to figure prominently in our efforts to protect neurons against both acute brain injury and chronic neurodegeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1120
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Mitochondria
  • Neuroprotection
  • Non-feminizing estrogens


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