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The enzyme 5alpha-reductase plays a key role on several brain functions controlling the formation of anxiolytic/anesthetic steroids derived from progesterone and deoxycorticosterone, the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and the removal of excess of potentially neurotoxic steroids. Two 5alpha-reductase isoforms have been cloned:(More)
Brain sexual differentiation is a complex developmental phenomenon influenced by the genetic background, sex hormone secretions and environmental inputs, including pollution. The main hormonal drive to masculinize and defeminize the rodent brain is testosterone secreted by the testis. The hormone does not influence sex brain differentiation only in its(More)
The present paper will summarize two important aspects of the interactions between steroids and the brain, which have recently been studied in the authors' laboratory. In particular the paper will consider data on: (1) the significance of the two isoforms of the 5alpha-R during brain ontogenesis and development, and (2) the cross-talk between glial and(More)
Memory formation and utilization is a complex process involving several brain structures in conjunction as the hippocampus, the amygdala and the adjacent cortical areas, usually defined as medial temporal lobe structures (MTL). The memory processes depend on the formation and modulation of synaptic connectivity affecting synaptic strength, synaptic(More)
Prostate cancer (PC) progression from androgen-dependent (AD) to castration-resistant (CR) disease is a process caused by modifications of different signal transduction pathways within tumor microenvironment. Reducing cell proliferation, estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is emerging as a potential target in PC chemoprevention. Among the known selective ERbeta(More)
The enzyme 5 alpha-reductase (5 alpha-R) activates several delta 4-3keto steroids to more potent derivatives which may also acquire new biological actions. Testosterone gives rise to the most potent natural androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and progesterone to dihydroprogesterone (DHP), a precursor of the endogenous anxiolytic/anesthetic steroid(More)
Androgen transformation into estrogens through the aromatase enzyme, occurring in the rat hypothalamus during fetal life, leads to male-specific sexual differentiation of brain. Aromatase shows a peak of expression and activity in a limited period during late gestation; however, the possible dimorphism in its expression during embryogenesis is unclear. One(More)
Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) plays a protective role against uncontrolled cell proliferation. ERbeta is lost during prostate cancer (CaP) progression suggesting its direct involvement in contrasting tumor proliferation in this disease; however, the molecular mechanism at the basis of this effect has not been clearly defined yet. Possible molecular(More)
Aromatase is possibly involved in male brain sexual differentiation. Aim of these experiments was to evaluate the role of testosterone (T) and of DHT, in the regulation of aromatase expression and activity. The experiments were done utilizing rat primary cultures of hypothalamic neurons from 16-day old embryos sex-screened by SRY gene. Aromatase expression(More)
Dihydrotestosterone and estradiol, two active metabolites formed locally in the brain from testosterone, modulate several functions of the developing rat CNS; these compounds derive from the 5 alpha-reduction or the aromatization of the A-ring of the hormone. Also, progesterone and corticosteroids may be 5 alpha-reduced and subsequently 3(More)