Hormones and the Social Brain

Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065 USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 33.61). 01/2013; 339(6117):279-280. DOI: 10.1126/science.1233713
Source: PubMed


Social stress can act through glucocorticoids on discrete dopamine-controlled neuronal pathways in the rodent brain to infl uence behavior.

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    • "As post awakening cortisol secretion (AUCg) reflects basal HPA axis activity across the day more closely than the CAR (Edwards et al., 2001) these results are consistent with a range of studies linking greater HPA axis activation and chronic stress (e.g. McEwen, 2012, 2013). These results are also of interest in relation to evidence relating levels of post awakening cortisol secretion as a risk factor for future psychopathology (Halligan et al., 2007; Mannie et al., 2007; Owens et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Indices of post awakening cortisol secretion (PACS), include the rise in cortisol (cortisol awakening response: CAR) and overall cortisol concentrations (e.g. area under the curve with reference to ground: AUCg) in the first 30-45 minutes. Both are commonly investigated in relation to psychosocial variables. Although sampling within the domestic setting is ecologically valid, participant non-adherence to the required timing protocol results in erroneous measurement of PACS and this may explain discrepancies in the literature linking these measures to trait well-being (TWB). We have previously shown that delays of little over 5 min (between awakening and the start of sampling) to result in erroneous CAR estimates. In this study, we report for the first time on the negative impact of sample timing inaccuracy (verified by electronic-monitoring) on the efficacy to detect significant relationships between PACS and TWB when measured in the domestic setting.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
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    • "Cortisol derivatives have recently been associated with a parallel participation in high mental activity, particularly with stress-induced responses in the dopaminergic system that underlie behaviors like appetite, mood, and memory. Most hormones participate in discrete specification on neuronal circuits and behavioral outcomes (McEwen 2013). Along the daily activities, the nervous and immune system exhibit notorious variations closely related with the circadian rhythms, which consist in recurring patterns in behavioral, endocrine, and physiological parameters that exhibit periodicities of approximately 24 h (Coogan and Wyse 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: From all biological constituents of complex organisms, two are highly sophisticated: the nervous and the immune systems. Interestingly, their goals and processes appear to be distant from each other; however, their physiological mechanisms keep notorious similarities. Both construct intelligence, learn from experience, and keep memory. Their precise responses to innumerable stimuli are delicately modulated, and the exposure of the individual to thousands of potential challenges integrates their functionality; they use a large part of their constituents not in excitatory activities but in the maintenance of inhibitory mechanisms to keep silent vast intrinsic potentialities. The nervous and immune systems are integrated by a basic cell lineage (neurons and lymphocytes, respectively) but each embodies countless cell subgroups with different and specialized deeds which, in contrast with cells from other organs, labyrinthine molecular arrangements conduct to "one cell, one function". Also, nervous and immune actions confer identity that differentiates every individual from countless others in the same species. Both systems regulate and potentiate their responses aided by countless biological resources of variable intensity: hormones, peptides, cytokines, pro-inflammatory molecules, etc. How the immune and the nervous systems buildup memory, learning capability, and exquisite control of excitatory/inhibitory mechanisms constitute major intellectual challenges for contemporary research.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Comparative Physiology
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    • "The newer and often redefined terms for pheromones limit the use of what is now known about their epigenetic effects, which are also associated with social stress on adaptively evolved socio-cognitive niche construction (Flinn, Nepomnaschy, Muehlenbein, & Ponzi, 2011; O’Connell & Hofmann, 2011, 2012; Whiten & Erdal, 2012). For example, social stress (see for review McEwen, 2012, 2013) associated with the absence of pheromones (Niwa et al., 2013) or with their presence and aggression (Barik et al., 2013) is as likely as nutrient-dependent stress associated with food acquisition to alter hormones and behavior during development. That is because the epigenetic effects of nutrient stress associated with food odors and the epigenetic effects of social stress associated with pheromones occur via the GnRH-controlled pathway, which includes both HPG axis and HPA axis regulation. "
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    ABSTRACT: The prenatal migration of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurosecretory neurons allows nutrients and human pheromones to alter GnRH pulsatility, which modulates the concurrent maturation of the neuroendocrine, reproductive, and central nervous systems, thus influencing the development of ingestive behavior, reproductive sexual behavior, and other behaviors. THIS MODEL DETAILS HOW CHEMICAL ECOLOGY DRIVES ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION VIA: (1) ecological niche construction, (2) social niche construction, (3) neurogenic niche construction, and (4) socio-cognitive niche construction. This model exemplifies the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal conditioning, which alters genetically predisposed, nutrient-dependent, hormone-driven mammalian behavior and choices for pheromones that control reproduction via their effects on luteinizing hormone (LH) and systems biology. Nutrients are metabolized to pheromones that condition behavior in the same way that food odors condition behavior associated with food preferences. The epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input calibrate and standardize molecular mechanisms for genetically predisposed receptor-mediated changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression in GnRH neurosecretory neurons of brain tissue. For example, glucose and pheromones alter the hypothalamic secretion of GnRH and LH. A form of GnRH associated with sexual orientation in yeasts links control of the feedback loops and developmental processes required for nutrient acquisition, movement, reproduction, and the diversification of species from microbes to man. An environmental drive evolved from that of nutrient ingestion in unicellular organisms to that of pheromone-controlled socialization in insects. In mammals, food odors and pheromones cause changes in hormones such as LH, which has developmental affects on pheromone-controlled sexual behavior in nutrient-dependent reproductively fit individuals across species of vertebrates.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013
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