The central and peripheral nervous system are important targets of sex steroids. Sex steroids affect the brain development and differentiation, and influence neuronal functions. Recent evidence emphasizes a striking sex-linked difference in brain damage after experimental stroke, as well as the efficacy of hormones in treating cerebral stroke injury. Several different models ofcerebral ischemia have been utilized for hormone neuroprotection studies, including transient or permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion, transient global ischemia, and transient forebrain ischemia. Extensive experimental studies have shown that female sex steroids such as progesterone and 17 -estradiol exert neuroprotective effects in the experimental models of stroke, although deleterious effects have also been reported. Also, a significance of numerous factors, including gender and age of experimental animals, localization of brain lesion, duration of ischemia and precise dose of steroids has been pointed out. There are multiple potential mechanisms that might be invoked to explain the beneficial effects of female sex steroids in brain injury, involving neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory properties, effects on vasculature and altered transcriptional regulation. A several clinical trials on the effects of sex hormones to traumatic brain injury have been performed, suggesting that hormone therapy may represent a new therapeutic tool to combat certain diseases, such as traumatic brain injury. Further basic science studies and randomized clinical trials are necessary to reveal a potential application of these molecules as a new therapeutic strategy.