A PET study of 5-HT1A receptors at different phases of the menstrual cycle in women with premenstrual dysphoria
The cause of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is largely unknown. It has been hypothesized that normal ovarian function triggers PMDD-related biochemical events within the brain and that serotonin plays an important role. In the present study, positron emission tomography (PET) and [carbonyl-(11)C]WAY-100635 were used to examine serotonin 5-HT(1A) receptors in a control group of women and in a group of women with PMDD. Two PET examinations were performed in each subject, one before (follicular phase) and one after ovulation (luteal phase). Each subject's menstrual cycle was confirmed by ultrasonography of the ovaries as well as with hormone levels in blood and urine. The 5-HT(1A) binding potential was measured in six regions of interest and calculated according to the simplified reference tissue model. In the raphe nuclei, the 5-HT(1A) binding potential changed from the follicular to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle in asymptomatic controls. In women with PMDD, the observed change between phases was significantly smaller. The results are in concordance with previously reported challenge studies of 5-HT(1A) receptor-mediated effects indicating different serotonergic responses between women with PMDD and controls. The study principally provides new support, in vivo, for a serotonergic dysregulation in women with PMDD.