Sex steroids and connectivity in the human brain: a review of neuroimaging studies.
ABSTRACT Our brain operates by the way of interconnected networks. Connections between brain regions have been extensively studied at a functional and structural level, and impaired connectivity has been postulated as an important pathophysiological mechanism underlying several neuropsychiatric disorders. Yet the neurobiological mechanisms contributing to the development of functional and structural brain connections remain to be poorly understood. Interestingly, animal research has convincingly shown that sex steroid hormones (estrogens, progesterone and testosterone) are critically involved in myelination, forming the basis of white matter connectivity in the central nervous system. To get insights, we reviewed studies into the relation between sex steroid hormones, white matter and functional connectivity in the human brain, measured with neuroimaging. Results suggest that sex hormones organize structural connections, and activate the brain areas they connect. These processes could underlie a better integration of structural and functional communication between brain regions with age. Specifically, ovarian hormones (estradiol and progesterone) may enhance both cortico-cortical and subcortico-cortical functional connectivity, whereas androgens (testosterone) may decrease subcortico-cortical functional connectivity but increase functional connectivity between subcortical brain areas. Therefore, when examining healthy brain development and aging or when investigating possible biological mechanisms of 'brain connectivity' diseases, the contribution of sex steroids should not be ignored.
- Brain Behavior and Immunity - BRAIN BEHAV IMMUN. 01/2011; 25.
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ABSTRACT: This study examined the effects of short-cycle sprints on power, strength, and salivary hormones in elite rugby players. Thirty male rugby players performed an upper-body power and lower-body strength (UPLS) and/or a lower-body power and upper-body strength (LPUS) workout using a crossover design (sprint vs. control). A 40-second upper-body or lower-body cycle sprint was performed before the UPLS and LPUS workouts, respectively, with the control sessions performed without the sprints. Bench throw (BT) power and box squat (BS) 1 repetition maximum (1RM) strength were assessed in the UPLS workout, and squat jump (SJ) power and bench press (BP) 1RM strength were assessed in the LPUS workout. Saliva was collected across each workout and assayed for testosterone (Sal-T) and cortisol (Sal-C). The cycle sprints improved BS (2.6 ± 1.2%) and BP (2.8 ± 1.0%) 1RM but did not affect BT and SJ power. The lower-body cycle sprint produced a favorable environment for the BS by elevating Sal-T concentrations. The upper-body cycle sprint had no hormonal effect, but the workout differences (%) in Sal-T (r = -0.59) and Sal-C (r = 0.42) concentrations correlated to the BP, along with the Sal-T/C ratio (r = -0.49 to -0.66). In conclusion, the cycle sprints improved the BP and BS 1RM strength of elite rugby players but not power output in the current format. The improvements noted may be explained, in part, by the changes in absolute or relative hormone concentrations. These findings have practical implications for prescribing warm-up and training exercises.The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 01/2011; 25(1):32-9. · 1.80 Impact Factor
Article: Maturation of the adolescent brain.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Adolescence is the developmental epoch during which children become adults - intellectually, physically, hormonally, and socially. Adolescence is a tumultuous time, full of changes and transformations. The pubertal transition to adulthood involves both gonadal and behavioral maturation. Magnetic resonance imaging studies have discovered that myelinogenesis, required for proper insulation and efficient neurocybernetics, continues from childhood and the brain's region-specific neurocircuitry remains structurally and functionally vulnerable to impulsive sex, food, and sleep habits. The maturation of the adolescent brain is also influenced by heredity, environment, and sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), which play a crucial role in myelination. Furthermore, glutamatergic neurotransmission predominates, whereas gamma-aminobutyric acid neurotransmission remains under construction, and this might be responsible for immature and impulsive behavior and neurobehavioral excitement during adolescent life. The adolescent population is highly vulnerable to driving under the influence of alcohol and social maladjustments due to an immature limbic system and prefrontal cortex. Synaptic plasticity and the release of neurotransmitters may also be influenced by environmental neurotoxins and drugs of abuse including cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol during adolescence. Adolescents may become involved with offensive crimes, irresponsible behavior, unprotected sex, juvenile courts, or even prison. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the major cause of death among the teenage population is due to injury and violence related to sex and substance abuse. Prenatal neglect, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption may also significantly impact maturation of the adolescent brain. Pharmacological interventions to regulate adolescent behavior have been attempted with limited success. Since several factors, including age, sex, disease, nutritional status, and substance abuse have a significant impact on the maturation of the adolescent brain, we have highlighted the influence of these clinically significant and socially important aspects in this report.Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment 01/2013; 9:449-61. · 2.00 Impact Factor
Jiska S Peper