HPA function in adolescence: role of sex hormones in its regulation and the enduring consequences of exposure to stressors.

Behavioural Neuroscience, Center for Neuroscience and Department of Psychology, Brock University, St Catharines ON, Canada.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.82). 03/2007; 86(2):220-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbb.2006.07.012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is one of the physiological systems involved in coping with stressors. There are functional shifts in the HPA axis and its regulation by sex hormones over the lifespan that allow the animal to meet the challenges of the internal and external environment that are specific to each stage of development. Sex differences in HPA function emerge over adolescence, a phenomenon reflecting the concomitant initiation of regulatory effects of sex hormones. The focus of this review is recent research on differences between adolescents and adults in HPA function and the enduring effects of exposure to stressors in adolescence. During adolescence, HPA function is characterized by a prolonged activation in response to stressors compared to adulthood, which may render ongoing development of the brain vulnerable. Although research has been scarce, there is a growing evidence that exposure to stressors in adolescence may alter behavioural responses to drugs and cognitive performance in adulthood. However, the effects reported appear to be stressor-specific and sex-specific. Such research may contribute toward understanding the increased risk for drug abuse and psychopathology that occurs over adolescence in people.

  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sex differences exist in vulnerability, symptoms, and treatment of many neuropsychiatric disorders. In this review, we discuss both preclinical and clinical research that investigates how sex influences depression endophenotypes at the behavioral, neuroendocrine, and neural levels across the lifespan. Chronic exposure to stress is a risk factor for depression and we discuss how stress during the prenatal, postnatal, and adolescent periods differentially affects males and females depending on the method of stress and metric examined. Given that the integrity of the hippocampus is compromised in depression, we specifically focus on sex differences in how hippocampal plasticity is affected by stress and depression across the lifespan. In addition, we examine how female physiology predisposes depression in adulthood, specifically in postpartum and perimenopausal periods. Finally, we discuss the underrepresentation of women in both preclinical and clinical research and how this limits our understanding of sex differences in vulnerability, presentation, and treatment of depression.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 01/2015; 420(8).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although some scholars have suggested that coping is constrained by emotional maturity, little is known about the relationship between these constructs. In this paper we assessed a model that included emotional maturity, dispositional coping, and coping effectiveness. We predicted that emotional maturity would have a direct effect on coping effectiveness in addition to an indirect effect via task-, distraction-, and disengagement-oriented coping.Method Seven hundred and ninety athletes completed measures of emotional maturity, dispositional coping, and coping effectiveness. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling, which revealed partial support for our model.ResultsSeveral of the predicted paths were significant. In particular, there was a significant path between emotional maturity and task-oriented coping, but the paths between emotional maturity and distraction- and disengagement-oriented coping were not significant.Conclusion Our findings indicate that how an athlete copes might be limited by his or her level of emotional maturity, which provides further evidence that coping is constrained by maturation among adolescent athletes.
    Psychology of Sport and Exercise 11/2014; · 1.77 Impact Factor