Cytochrome P450 aromatase (CYP19) in the non-human primate brain: Distribution, regulation, and functional significance

Charles E. Roselli, John A. Resko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


In adult male primates, estrogens play a role in both gonadotropin feedback and sexual behavior. Inhibition of aromatization in intact male monkeys acutely elevates serum levels of luteinizing hormone, an effect mediated, at least partially, within the brain. High levels of aromatase (CYP19) are present in the monkey brain and regulated by androgens in regions thought to be involved in the central regulation of reproduction. Androgens regulate aromatase pretranslationally and androgen receptor activation is correlated with the induction of aromatase activity. Aromatase and androgen receptor mRNAs display both unique and overlapping distributions within the hypothalamus and limbic system suggesting that androgens and androgen-derived estrogens regulate complimentary and interacting genes within many neural networks. Long-term castrated monkeys, like men, exhibit an estrogen-dependent neural deficit that could be an underlying cause of the insensitivity to testosterone that develops in states of chronic androgen deficiency. Future studies of in situ estrogen formation in brain in the primate model are important for understanding the importance of aromatase not only for reproduction, but also for neural functions such as memory and cognition that appear to be modulated by estrogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-253
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Amygdala
  • CYP19
  • Cytochrome P450 aromatase
  • Estradiol
  • Hypothalamus
  • In situ hybridization
  • LH
  • Monkey
  • Testosterone
  • mRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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