Early androgen effects on aggression in children and adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
ABSTRACT Males are more likely than females to show aggressive behavior across species, ages, and situations, and these differences may be partly influenced by early hormones. We studied aggression in three samples of subjects with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who were exposed to high levels of androgen in the prenatal and early postnatal periods. Controls were siblings and first cousins similar in age. In Sample 1, adolescents and adults completed the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), which includes an Aggression scale. In Sample 2, adolescents and adults completed the MPQ and a paper-and-pencil version of Reinisch's Aggression Inventory. In Sample 3, parents rated the aggression of children aged 3-12, using a modification of Reinisch's Inventory. In all three samples, control males had higher aggression scores than control females. Further, as predicted, females with CAH had higher aggression than control females, but the difference was significant only in adolescents and adults. These results suggest that early androgens contribute to variability in human aggression.
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ABSTRACT: The male predominance of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is one of the best-known, and at the same time, one of the least understood characteristics of these disorders. In this paper we review genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, and environmental mechanisms underlying this male preponderance. Sex-specific effects of Y-linked genes (including SRY expression leading to testicular development), balanced and skewed X-inactivation, genes that escape X-inactivation, parent-of-origin allelic imprinting, and the hypothetical heterochromatin sink are reviewed. These mechanisms likely contribute to etiology, instead of being simply causative to ASD. Environments, both internal and external, also play important roles in ASD's etiology. Early exposure to androgenic hormones and early maternal immune activation comprise environmental factors affecting sex-specific susceptibility to ASD. The gene-environment interactions underlying ASD, suggested here, implicate early prenatal stress as being especially detrimental to boys with a vulnerable genotype.Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 04/2014; 35(3). DOI:10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.03.006 · 7.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prenatal androgen exposure has been associated with aggressive behavior in adults. It is less clear whether this association holds for childhood externalizing behavior. This study tests the hypothesis that increased prenatal androgen exposure is associated with aggressive behavior and attention problems in childhood. The ratio of the length of the second finger digit relative to the fourth digit, which is a marker for prenatal testosterone exposure, was assessed in 239 male and female fifth grade schoolchildren from Jintan, China, together with parent and teacher ratings of aggression and attention problems. Increased aggression and attention problems were both significantly associated with a lower ratio of the length of the second finger digit relative to the fourth digit ratios in boys but not girls. The effects remained significant after controlling for early adversity. These findings are the first to establish a relationship between an indirect indicator of fetal androgen exposure and any child psychopathology in Chinese children, and the observed effect size in boys was stronger than in male adults in Western studies. The results provide limited cross-cultural support for the importance of prenatal androgen exposure in contributing to the development of externalizing behavior problems in children, and they suggest that such effects may be specific to boys who may be relatively more vulnerable to early prenatal influences.Development and Psychopathology 08/2012; 24(3):771-82. DOI:10.1017/S0954579412000363 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Psychological outcomes in persons with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) have received substantial attention. The objectives of this paper were to (1) catalog psychological endpoints assessed in CAH outcome studies and (2) classify the conceptual/theoretical model shaping the research design and interpretation of CAH-related psychological effects. A total of 98 original research studies, published between 1955 and 2009, were categorized based on psychological endpoints examined as well as the research design and conceptual model guiding analysis and interpretation of data. The majority of studies (68%) investigated endpoints related to psychosexual differentiation. The preponderance of studies (76%) examined a direct relationship (i.e., inferring causality) between prenatal androgen exposure and psychological outcomes. Findings are discussed in relation to the observed imbalance between theoretical interest in the role of prenatal androgens in shaping psychosexual differentiation and a broader conceptual model that examines the role of other potential factors in mediating or moderating the influence of CAH pathophysiology on psychological outcomes in both affected females and males. The latter approach offers to identify factors amenable to clinical intervention that enhance both health and quality of life outcomes in CAH as well as other disorders of sex development.International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology 10/2010; 2010:191520. DOI:10.1155/2010/191520