Estrogen Receptors Modulation of Anxiety-Like Behavior

A. P. Borrow, R. J. Handa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

113 Scopus citations


Estrogens exert profound effects on the expression of anxiety in humans and rodents; however, the directionality of these effects varies considerably within both clinical and preclinical literature. It is believed that discrepancies regarding the nature of estrogens’ effects on anxiety are attributable to the differential effects of specific estrogen receptor (ER) subtypes. In this chapter we will discuss the relative impact on anxiety and anxiety-like behavior of each of the three main ERs: ERα, which has a generally anxiogenic effect, ERβ, which has a generally anxiolytic effect, and the G-protein-coupled ER known as GPR30, which has been found to both increase and decrease anxiety-like behavior. In addition, we will describe the known mechanisms by which these receptor subtypes exert their influence on emotional responses, focusing on the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the oxytocinergic and serotonergic systems. The impact of estrogens on the expression of anxiety is likely the result of their combined effects on all of these neurobiological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVitamins and Hormones
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages26
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Publication series

NameVitamins and Hormones
ISSN (Print)0083-6729


  • Anxiety
  • Beta
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen receptor alpha
  • GPR30
  • HPA
  • Oxytocin
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology


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