Neurosteroids and Mood

Steroid hormones are known for their the powerful effect on affect. Cyclical changes of gonadal steroid levels may influence the neurotransmission and may be responsible for premenstrual or posparturitional mood changes in some women (2,47). DHEAS was recently shown to potentiate NMDA-induced noradrenaline release from hippocampal slices (88). The latter mechanism, combined with DHEA proserotonergic actions (86), may be accountable for the reported antidepressant effects of DHEA in humans (60) and it may contribute to potentiating effect of DHEA on memory, in which norepinephrine plays a pivotal role (89,90). Recent placebo controlled study by the Yen et al. (91) documented positive mood effect of supplementation of middle-aged people with DHEA, along with other beneficial physiological effects. Also past and recent clinical studies with pregnenolone suggest that this neurosteroid may have mood improving and analeptic effects (19).

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