The Effect of Steroid Hormones in the Female Brain During Different Reproductive States
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders and have an increased risk of onset during periods associated with hormonal changes, such as the postpartum period and the menopausal transition. Furthermore, some women seem more sensitive to normal hormone fluctuations across the menstrual cycle, since approximately 3-5% suffers from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Why these disorders are so common in women has not been established but there is a probable involvement of the ovarian hormones.
The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of the ovarian hormones on the female brain during different reproductive states using psychological tests known to affect brain activity in different ways.
Paper one examined the effect of the ovarian hormones on prepulse inhibition (PPI) on the acoustic startle response (ASR) and comprised cycling women and postmenopausal women. The cycling women had lower levels of PPI compared to postmenopausal women and postmenopausal women with moderate estradiol levels had lower PPI compared to postmenopausal women with low estradiol levels.
Paper two examined the effect of anticipation and affective modulation on the ASR in women with PMDD and healthy controls. Women with PMDD have an increased modulation during anticipation of affective pictures compared to healthy controls during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Paper three examined brain activity during response inhibition among women with PMDD and healthy controls by the use of a Go/NoGo task and fMRI. Women with PMDD displayed a decreased activity in the left insula during follicular phase and an increased activity during the luteal phase compared to controls.
Paper four comprised women in the postpartum period and non-pregnant controls to examine brain activity during response inhibition. While this study revealed decreased activity at 4 weeks postpartum compared to 48 hours postpartum we cannot ascertain the role of the ovarian steroids, since none of the significant brain areas correlated with ovarian steroid or neurosteroid serum concentrations.
The results of this thesis demonstrate that the ovarian hormones, or at least various hormonal states, have a probable impact on how the female brain works.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. , 85 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 787
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Postpartum, Estradiol, Progesterone, Menstrual cycle, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Response inhibition, Prepulse inhibition, Startle response
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject Medical Science
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-175409ISBN: 978-91-554-8402-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-175409DiVA: diva2:531388
2012-09-14, Gustavianum, Auditorium Minus, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 09:00 (Swedish)
Elias, Eriksson, Professor
Sundström-Poromaa, Inger, ProfessorWikström, Johan, DocentKask, Kristiina, Med.Dr.
List of papers