The neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone ((3 alpha,5 alpha)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one or 3 alpha,5 alpha-THP) plays a key role in the response to stress, by normalizing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function to restore homeostasis. Most studies have been conducted on male rats, and little is known about the allopregnanolone response to stress in females, despite that women are more susceptible than men to develop emotional and stress-related disorders. Here, we provide an overview of animal and human studies examining the allopregnanolone responses to acute stress in females in the context of stress-related neuropsychiatric diseases and under the different conditions that characterize the female lifespan associated with the reproductive function. The blunted allopregnanolone response to acute stress, often observed in female rats and women, may represent one of the mechanisms that contribute to the increased vulnerability to stress and affective disorders in women under the different hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout their lifespan. These studies highlight the importance of targeting neuroactive steroids as a therapeutic approach for stress-related disorders in women.

The Allopregnanolone Response to Acute Stress in Females: Preclinical and Clinical Studies

Concas, Luca;Siddi, Carlotta;Serra, Mariangela;Porcu, Patrizia
2022-01-01

Abstract

The neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone ((3 alpha,5 alpha)-3-hydroxypregnan-20-one or 3 alpha,5 alpha-THP) plays a key role in the response to stress, by normalizing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function to restore homeostasis. Most studies have been conducted on male rats, and little is known about the allopregnanolone response to stress in females, despite that women are more susceptible than men to develop emotional and stress-related disorders. Here, we provide an overview of animal and human studies examining the allopregnanolone responses to acute stress in females in the context of stress-related neuropsychiatric diseases and under the different conditions that characterize the female lifespan associated with the reproductive function. The blunted allopregnanolone response to acute stress, often observed in female rats and women, may represent one of the mechanisms that contribute to the increased vulnerability to stress and affective disorders in women under the different hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout their lifespan. These studies highlight the importance of targeting neuroactive steroids as a therapeutic approach for stress-related disorders in women.
HPA axis; Allopregnanolone; Females; Stress; Animals; Female; Humans; Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System; Male; Pituitary-Adrenal System; Rats; Neurosteroids; Pregnanolone
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/345713
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