Estrogen-induced neuroimmunomodulation as facilitator of and barrier to reproductive aging in brain and lymphoid organs

Srinivasan ThyagaRajan, Lalgi Hima, Uday P. Pratap, Hannah P. Priyanka, Ramasamy Vasantharekha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Reproductive aging in females is marked by alterations in gonadal hormones, estrogen and progesterone, that facilitate cessation of reproductive cycles and onset of female-specific diseases such as autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, hormone-dependent cancers, and osteoporosis. Bidirectional communication between the three homeostatic systems, nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system, is essential for the maintenance of health and any dysfunction in the cross-talk promotes the development of diseases and cancer. The pleiotropic effects of estrogen on neural-immune interactions may promote either neuroprotection or inflammatory conditions depending on the site of action, dose and duration of treatment, type of estrogen receptors and its influence on intracellular signaling pathways, etc. Our studies involving treatment of early middle-aged female rats with low and high doses of estrogen and examining the brain areas, thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes revealed that estrogen-induced changes in neural-immune interactions are markedly affected in thymus followed by spleen and lymph nodes while it confers neuroprotection in the brain areas. These alterations are determined by antioxidant enzyme status, growth factors, intracellular signaling pathways involved in cell survival and inflammation, and metabolic enzymes and thus, may regulate the various stages in female reproductive aging. It is imperative that detailed longitudinal studies are carried out to understand the mechanisms of neuroendocrine-immune interactions in reproductive aging to facilitate healthy aging and for the development of better treatment strategies for female-specific diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-12
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunity
  • Inflammation
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Neuroprotection
  • Noradrenergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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