Involvement of GABAA receptor modulating neuroactive steroids in patients with social phobia.
ABSTRACT Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate ester (DHEA-S), neurosteroids synthesized in the brain, are weak gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptor allosteric antagonists that may be involved in anxiety disorders. In the present study we measured the circulatory [corrected] levels of DHEA, DHEA-S, pregnenolone and cortisol in [corrected] untreated patients (n=26) diagnosed with social phobia (SP) compared with sex- and age-matched healthy controls (n=21). No significant differences in neurosteroids were observed in [corrected] untreated SP patients and [corrected] compared with healthy controls. The findings may reflect an absence of involvement of the GABA(A) modulators DHEA, DHEA-S and pregnenolone in SP.