Research Topic

Sex Hormone and the Neurobiology of Affective Disorders

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Affective disorders are coming to be regarded as the first disease causing human disabilities. The first-aid drugs for these diseases target the monoamines, which suggest that the monoamines might be the reason for these affective disorders. However, other hormones are also involved in these diseases, for ...

Affective disorders are coming to be regarded as the first disease causing human disabilities. The first-aid drugs for these diseases target the monoamines, which suggest that the monoamines might be the reason for these affective disorders. However, other hormones are also involved in these diseases, for example, the sex hormones. Clinical evidence shows sex differences in developing depressive disorders as well as the effects of antidepressants in depression treatment. Depression symptoms increase dramatically during adolescence, with girls showing a steeper increase than boys after puberty onset. In addition, many affective disorders occur during perinatal or peri-menopausal periods in the female. The timing of the onset of this sex bias led us to hypothesize that ovarian hormones contribute to depression and anxiety during puberty. However, studies in this aspect are lacking.

The activity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axes are closely related. The higher plasma corticosterone can decrease in HPG activity, and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) signaling can regulates sex endocrine. In addition, corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which was named the stress hormone, can simulate norepinephrine (NE) dopamine and 5-HT synthesis. CRH release and the CRH induces the release of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), also activates the hypothalamic-pituitary- gonadal (HPG) axis, which has been widely accepted as one of the central mechanisms involved in stress and affective disorders. So HPA and HPG might work together to alter the function of the neural network and affect the 5-HT, DA and noradrenergic activity, and results in the behavioral or emotional changes.

Many studies have found that sex hormones have a neuroprotective effect on affective diseases. For example, some sex steroid hormones are produced in the brain, and they might direct effects on altering serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine metabolisms, and influence brain function at the cellular level and thus affect behavior and higher brain functions. However, despite the critical importance of affective disorders, and despite the progress and development that has been made as regards the link between sex hormones and depression in recent years, the mechanisms are still far from clear.
Recently, sex hormones, such as LH has been found to be related to AD. Knowledge of the effects of LH in affective disorders is still lacking.

In this Research Topic, we welcome manuscripts that focus on the neurobiological mechanisms of sex hormones, especially those studies investigating on the effects of sex hormones on neuromodulators, such as dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT) and acetylcholine (ACh), in order to clarify the mechanisms through which they act as the primary neural basis for mental disorders.
We welcome the following submission formats: quantitative or qualitative research, review, perspective, and case studies.

Themes in this Research Topic might include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Reports about the function of the sex hormones affecting the monoaminergic neurons in the hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, habulina central nervous system;
2. Neurobiological studies about the correlations between HPA and HPG axis;
3. Studies focusing on other neurotransmitters, such as glutamate and GABA which might work as a mediator for sex hormones and monoamines and affective disorders;
4. Neurobiological mechanisms of stress and sex hormones, or the HPG axis;
5. Drugs that affect sex hormones, and monoamine and affective diseases;
6. Clinical studies or case reports about sex hormone treatments with neurotransmitter disturbance within affective disorders;
7. Studies focusing on the interaction-integration between sex hormone-based treatments and affective disorders
8. Clinical and health psychology based treatments and psychotherapeutic interventions.


Keywords: Neurotransmitters, emotion, mental health, depression, sex hormone, sex hormone treatment and affective disorders, interaction-integration of sex hormones


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