Effect of steroid hormones on the peripheral nervous system
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Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Pathophysiology, 10-747 Olsztyn, Tuwima 10, Poland
University of Warmia and Mazury, Division of Clinical Physiology, Department of Functional Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Oczapowskiego 13, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland
Publication date: 2008-01-15
Corresponding author
B. Jana   

Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Pathophysiology, 10-747 Olsztyn, Tuwima 10, Poland
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2008;17(1):3-18
The aim of the present review is to describe the localization and expression pattern of oestrogens, androgens and progestagens receptors within the rat peripheral nervous system (PNS), and to emphasize the important role of these steroids in regulation of peripheral neurons function(s). Till now, steroid receptors were found predominantly in a subset of sensory and autonomic PNS cells projecting to reproductive organs and/or urinary system, as well as in Schwann cells of the sciatic nerve. Available literature strongly suggests that oestrogens exert diverse effects on sensory and autonomic neurons, among others influencing not only the development, plasticity and repair abilities of dorsal root ganglia neurons, but also controlling the neuritogenesis of sympathetic neurons and Schwann cell proliferation. Furthermore, there is growing body of evidence that these steroids are also able to change the neurochemical architecture of circuits involved in analgesia and nociception, most probably by modulation of the chemical coding of sensory and autonomic neurons. In contrast, there is a paucity of data concerning the function(s) of androgens and progestagens on PNS neurons. As of now, while androgens are thought to exert strong impact on the morphology, chemical phenotypes and function(s) of pelvic autonomic neurons, involved in reproductive behaviours in male, progestagens are implicated to influence the somatosensory pathways rather, being able to act on morphology of sciatic nerves (e.g., influencing expression of myelin proteins and Schwann cell proliferation). Thus, although there is no doubt that an immediate bilateral relationship between the peripheral nervous and endocrine systems exists, it should be stressed that available data are restricted only to experiments performed on rats, in this way limiting the scope of this short review to this species only.
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