Open Access
Review

Sex hormones, aging, and Alzheimer's disease

Anna M. Barron1,2,Christian J. Pike1,*
1
USC Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA
2
Department of Life Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 153-8902 Japan
DOI: 10.2741/E434 Volume 4 Issue 3, pp.976-997
Published: 01 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alzheimer's disease)
*Corresponding Author(s):  
Christian J. Pike
E-mail:  
cjpike@usc.edu
Abstract

A promising strategy to delay and perhaps prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is to identify the agerelated changes that put the brain at risk for the disease. A significant normal age change known to result in tissuespecific dysfunction is the depletion of sex hormones. In women, menopause results in a relatively rapid loss of estradiol and progesterone. In men, aging is associated with a comparatively gradual yet significant decrease in testosterone. We review a broad literature that indicates age-related losses of estrogens in women and testosterone in men are risk factors for AD. Both estrogens and androgens exert a wide range of protective actions that improve multiple aspects of neural health, suggesting that hormone therapies have the potential to combat AD pathogenesis. However, translation of experimental findings into effective therapies has proven challenging. One emerging treatment option is the development of novel hormone mimetics termed selective estrogen and androgen receptor modulators. Continued research of sex hormones and their roles in the aging brain is expected to yield valuable approaches to reducing the risk of AD.

Key words

Alzheimer’s disease, Beta-Amyloid, Estrogen, Hormone Therapy, Progesterone, Testosterone, Review

Share and Cite
Anna M. Barron, Christian J. Pike. Sex hormones, aging, and Alzheimer's disease. Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite. 2012. 4(3); 976-997.