The dual action of estrogen hypothesis

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Estradiol (E2) can act in the brain in a relatively fast manner (i.e., seconds to minutes) usually through signaling initiated at the cell membrane. Brain-derived E2 has thus been considered as another type of neurotransmitter. Recent work found that behaviors indicative of male sexual motivation are activated by estrogenic metabolites of testosterone (T) in a fast manner, while sexual performance (copulatory behavior per se) is regulated by brain E2 in a slower manner via nucleus-initiated actions. This functional division between these two types of action appears to generalize to other behavioral systems regulated by E2. We propose the dual action of estrogen hypothesis to explain this functional distinction between these two different modes of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-416
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in neurosciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Appetitive behavior
  • Consummatory behavior
  • Estrogen
  • Membrane-initiated action
  • Motivation
  • Nuclear action
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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