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Complexities of oestrogen in stroke

Carswell, H.V.O. and Macrae, I.M. and Farr, T.D. (2009) Complexities of oestrogen in stroke. Clinical Science, 118 (6). pp. 375-389. ISSN 0143-5221

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Evidence exists for the potential protective effects of circulating ovarian hormones in stroke, and oestrogen reduces brain damage in animal ischaemia models. However, a recent clinical trial indicated that HRT (hormone-replacement therapy) increased the incidence of stroke in post-menopausal women, and detrimental effects of oestrogen on stroke outcome have been identified in a meta-analysis of HRT trials and in pre-clinical research studies. Therefore oestrogen is not an agent that can be promoted as a potential stroke therapy. Many published reviews have reported the neuroprotective effects of oestrogen in stroke, but have failed to include information on the detrimental effects. This issue is addressed in the present review, along with potential mechanisms of action, and the translational capacity of pre-clinical research.