sábado, 24 de agosto de 2013

Estrogenic modulation of auditory processing: A vertebrate comparison

  • Neurobiology and Behavior Graduate Program, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St., Seattle, WA 98195, USA
  • Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St., Seattle, WA 98195, USA


Estrogens influence mammalian auditory development.
Estrogens protect the mammalian auditory system from damage.
Estrogens enhance auditory function during breeding periods.
Brain-derived estrogens can enhance local response properties in the avian forebrain.


Sex-steroid hormones are well-known regulators of vocal motor behavior in several organisms. 

A large body of evidence now indicates that these same hormones modulate processing at multiple levels of the ascending auditory pathway. 

The goal of this review is to provide a comparative analysis of the role of estrogens in vertebrate auditory function. 

Four major conclusions can be drawn from the literature: 

First, estrogens may influence the development of the mammalian auditory system. 
Second, estrogenic signaling protects the mammalian auditory system from noise- and age-related damage. Third, estrogens optimize auditory processing during periods of reproductive readiness in multiple vertebrate lineages. 

Finally, brain-derived estrogens can act locally to enhance auditory response properties in at least one avian species. 

This comparative examination may lead to a better appreciation of the role of estrogens in the processing of natural vocalizations and mayprovide useful insights toward alleviating auditory dysfunctions emanating from hormonal imbalances.

Available online 31 July 2013

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