Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Estrogen Makes The Brain More Vulnerable To Stress

Date:
January 22, 2004
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
High levels of estrogen may enhance the brain's response to stress, making women more vulnerable to mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a Yale study.

New Haven, Conn. -- High levels of estrogen may enhance the brain's response to stress, making women more vulnerable to mental illnesses such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a Yale study.

This finding may explain why stress-related mental illnesses occur at least twice as often in women as in men. It also may explain why the discrepancy in prevalence begins in women at puberty, continues through the childbearing years, and then declines in postmenopausal years, said Becca Shansky, a graduate student in neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study to be published in the March issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

The researchers exposed male and female rats to different levels of stress and then tested them on a short-term memory task. The authors found that without stress, males and females performed at the same level. After exposure to high levels of stress, both genders made significant memory errors. However, after exposure to a moderate level of stress, the female rats were impaired, but the males were not, suggesting that females were more sensitive to the effects of stress. Male rats performed the same with moderate stress as they did without any stress.

The authors also found that the female rats showed this sensitivity only when they were in a high-estrogen phase. To investigate how estrogen was involved the researchers removed the ovaries of a new group of female rats to eliminate any circulating estrogen. They then implanted a time-release capsule containing either estrogen or placebo and repeated the experiment. Animals with estrogen capsules displayed the same sensitivity to stress that females in a high-estrogen phase did, while animals with placebo capsules were unimpaired.

It is known that estrogen can interact with molecular processes involved in the stress response and that certain genetic variations have been demonstrated in clinically depressed women. "How these factors combine to produce the disparity in the prevalence of this disorder is unknown," Shansky said. "Such knowledge will hopefully lead to the development of new, more effective treatments for depression."

The senior author was Amy Arnsten, M.D., associate professor of neurobiology; Courtney Glavis-Bloom, David Lerman, Paulette McRae, Christopher Benson, Katherine Miller, Louise Cosand and Tamas Horvath, all of Yale.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Estrogen Makes The Brain More Vulnerable To Stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083121.htm>.
Yale University. (2004, January 22). Estrogen Makes The Brain More Vulnerable To Stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083121.htm
Yale University. "Estrogen Makes The Brain More Vulnerable To Stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040122083121.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins