Endocrinology Journal Article

Effects of Estrogens on Thermoregulation

August 23, 2021
 

Zhi Zhang, Johnathon R DiVittorio, Alexia M Joseph, Stephanie M Correa
Endocrinology, Volume 162, Issue 8, August 2021, bqab087
https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqab087

Abstract

Declining and variable levels of estrogens around the time of menopause are associated with a suite of metabolic, vascular, and neuroendocrine changes. The archetypal adverse effects of perimenopause are vasomotor symptoms, which include hot flashes and night sweats. Although vasomotor symptoms are routinely treated with hormone therapy, the risks associated with these treatments encourage us to seek alternative treatment avenues. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the effects of estrogens on temperature regulation is a first step toward identifying novel therapeutic targets. Here we outline findings in rodents that reveal neural and molecular targets of estrogens within brain regions that control distinct components of temperature homeostasis. These insights suggest that estrogens may alter the function of multiple specialized neural circuits to coordinate the suite of changes after menopause. Thus, defining the precise cells and neural circuits that mediate the effects of estrogens on temperature has promise to identify strategies that would selectively counteract hot flashes or other negative side effects without the health risks that accompany systemic hormone therapies.

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