Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Testosterone in healthy men increases their brains' response to threat

Date:
August 11, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Testosterone, a steroid hormone, is well known to contribute to aggressive behavior in males, but the neural circuits through which testosterone exerts these effects have not been clear. Prior studies found that the administration of a single dose of testosterone influenced brain circuit function. Surprisingly, however, these studies were conducted exclusively in women. Researchers have now sought to rectify this gap by conducting a study of the effects of testosterone on the brain’s response to threat cues in healthy men.

Testosterone, a steroid hormone, is well known to contribute to aggressive behavior in males, but the neural circuits through which testosterone exerts these effects have not been clear.

Prior studies found that the administration of a single dose of testosterone influenced brain circuit function. Surprisingly, however, these studies were conducted exclusively in women.

Researchers, led by Dr. Justin Carrι, sought to rectify this gap by conducting a study of the effects of testosterone on the brain's response to threat cues in healthy men.

They focused their attention on brain structures that mediate threat processing and aggressive behavior, including the amygdala, hypothalamus, and periaqueductal gray.

The researchers recruited 16 healthy young male volunteers, who completed two test days on which they received either testosterone or placebo. On both testing days, the men first received a drug that suppressed their testosterone. This step ensured that testosterone levels were similar among all study participants. The amount of testosterone administered in this study only returned testosterone levels to the normal range. Subjects then completed a face-matching task while undergoing a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan.

Data analyses revealed that, compared with placebo, testosterone increased reactivity of the amygdala, hypothalamus and periaqueductal grey when viewing angry facial expressions.

"We were able to show for the first time that increasing levels of testosterone within the normal physiological range can have a profound effect on brain circuits that are involved in threat-processing and human aggression," said Carrι, Assistant Professor at Nipissing University.

"Understanding testosterone effects on the brain activity patterns associated with threat and aggression may help us to better understand the 'fight or flight' response in males that may be relevant to aggression and anxiety," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Expanding our knowledge of exactly how testosterone affects the male brain is particularly important, as testosterone augmentation has become increasingly promoted and aggressively marketed as a solution to reduced virility in aging men. Further work is indeed continuing, Carrι said. "Our current work is examining the extent to which a single administration of testosterone influences aggressive and competitive behavior in men."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan M.M. Goetz, Lingfei Tang, Moriah E. Thomason, Michael P. Diamond, Ahmad R. Hariri, Justin M. Carr. Testosterone Rapidly Increases Neural Reactivity to Threat in Healthy Men: A Novel Two-Step Pharmacological Challenge Paradigm. Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 76 (4): 324 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.01.016

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Testosterone in healthy men increases their brains' response to threat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124630.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, August 11). Testosterone in healthy men increases their brains' response to threat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124630.htm
Elsevier. "Testosterone in healthy men increases their brains' response to threat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124630.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. 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:
from the past week

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