The importance of translationally evaluating steroid hormone contributions to substance use

Erin E. Maher, Ashley M. Strzelecki, Jessica J. Weafer, Cassandra D. Gipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Clinically, women appear to be more susceptible to certain aspects of substance use disorders (SUDs). The steroid hormones 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (Pg) have been linked to women-specific drug behaviors. Here, we review clinical and preclinical studies investigating how cycling ovarian hormones affect nicotine-, cocaine-, and opioid-related behaviors. We also highlight gaps in the literature regarding how synthetic steroid hormone use may influence drug-related behaviors. In addition, we explore how E2 and Pg are known to interact in brain reward pathways and provide evidence of how these interactions may influence drug-related behaviors. The synthesis of this review demonstrates the critical need to study women-specific factors that may influence aspects of SUDs, which may play important roles in addiction processes in a sex-specific fashion. It is important to understand factors that impact women's health and may be key to moving the field forward toward more efficacious and individualized treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101059
JournalFrontiers in Neuroendocrinology
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Contraceptive hormones
  • Estrogen
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Neurobiology
  • Progesterone
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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