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.

Related Articles


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 April 19, 2015 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 April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
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