Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: March 2016

Chapter 8 - The effects of hormones on the female brain across the lifespan

from Section 2 - Hormonal and reproductive effects
Abel, K. M., Heuvelman, H., Jorgensen, L., Wicks, S., Susser, E., Magnusson, C., Hallqvist, J., & Dalman, C. 2014. Does prenatal or childhood severe psychological stress increase the risk of subsequent psychosis? A Swedish national population cohort. British Medical Journal, 348:f7679.
Austin, M. P., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., Leader, L., Saint, K. & Parker, G. 2005. Maternal trait anxiety, depression and life event stress in pregnancy: Relationships with infant temperament. Early Human Development, 81, 183190.
Auyeung, B., Ahluwalia, J., Thomson, L., Taylor, K., Hackett, G., O'Donnell, K. J. & Baron-Cohen, S. 2012. Prenatal versus postnatal sex steroid hormone effects on autistic traits in children at 18 to 24 months of age. Molecular Autism, 3, 17.
Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S., Ashwin, E., Knickmeyer, R., Taylor, K. & Hackett, G. 2009. Fetal testosterone and autistic traits. British Journal of Psychology, 100, 122.
Berenbaum, S. A. & Resnick, S. M. 1997. Early androgen effects on aggression in children and adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 22, 505515.
Bick, J., Naumova, O., Hunter, S., Barbot, B., Lee, M., Luthar, S. S., Raefski, A. & Grigorenko, E. L. 2012. Childhood adversity and DNA methylation of genes involved in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and immune system: Whole-genome and candidate-gene associations. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 14171425.
Bloch, M., Schmidt, P. J., Danaceau, M., Murphy, J., Nieman, L. & Rubinow, D. R. 2000. Effects of gonadal steroids in women with a history of postpartum depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 924930.
Bromberger, J. T., Meyer, P. M., Kravitz, H. M., Sommer, B., Cordal, A., Powell, L., Ganz, P. A. & Sutton-Tyrrell, K. 2001. Psychologic distress and natural menopause: A multiethnic community study. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 14351442.
Buss, C., Davis, E. P., Muftuler, T. L., Head, K. & Sandman, C. A. 2010. High pregnancy anxiety during mid-gestation is associated with decreased gray matter density in 6–9-year-old children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35, 141153.
Buss, C., Davis, E. P., Shahbaba, B., Pruessner, J. C., Head, K. & Sandman, C. A. 2012. Maternal cortisol over the course of pregnancy and subsequent child amygdala and hippocampus volumes and affective problems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109, E1312-9.
Castle, D. J. & Murray, R. M. 1993. The epidemiology of late-onset schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 19, 691700.
Chapman, E., Baron-Cohen, S., Auyeung, B., Knickmeyer, R., Taylor, K. & Hackett, G. 2006. Fetal testosterone and empathy: Evidence from the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test. Social Neuroscience, 1, 135148.
Chim, H., Tan, B. H. I., Ang, C. C., Chew, E. M. D., Chong, Y. S. & Saw, S. M. 2003. The prevalence of menopausal symptoms in a community in Singapore. Maturitas, 41, 275282.
Cicchetti, D., Rogosch, F. A. & Oshri, A. 2011. Interactive effects of corticotropin releasing hormone receptor 1, serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region, and child maltreatment on diurnal cortisol regulation and internalizing symptomatology. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 11251138.
Class, Q. A., Abel, K. M., Khashan, A. S,, Rickert, M. E., Dalman, C., Larsson, H., Hultman, C. M., Langstrom, N., Lichtenstein, P., D’Onofrio, B. M. (2014). Offspring psychopathology following preconception, prenatal, and postnatal maternal bereavement stress, Psychological Medicine, 44(1), 7184.
Coe, C. L., Kramer, M., Czeh, B., Gould, E., Reeves, A. J., Kirschbaum, C. & Fuchs, E. 2003a. Prenatal stress diminishes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of juvenile Rhesus monkeys. Biological Psychiatry, 54, 10251034.
Coe, C. L., Kramer, M., Czeh, B., Gould, E., Reeves, A. J., Kirschbaum, C. & Fuchs, E. 2003b. Prenatal stress diminishes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of juvenile rhesus monkeys. Biological Psychiatry, 54, 10251034.
Cohen-Bendahan, C. C., Buitelaar, J. K., van Goozen, S. H., Orlebeke, J. F. & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. 2005. Is there an effect of prenatal testosterone on aggression and other behavioral traits? A study comparing same-sex and opposite-sex twin girls. Hormones and Behavior, 47, 230237.
Condon, J. T. 1993. The premenstrual syndrome: A twin study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 481486.
Cooper, P. J. & Murray, L. 1995. Course and recurrence of postnatal depression: evidence for the specificity of the diagnostic concept. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 191195.
Craig, M. C., Cutter, W. J., Norbury, R. & Murphy, D. G. M. 2005. X chromosome, estrogen and brain development, implications for schizophrenia. In: Keshavan, M., Kennedy, J. L. & Murray, R. (eds.) Neurodevelopment and Schizophrenia. London/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dalton, K., Dalton, M. E. & Guthrie, K. 1987. Incidence of the premenstrual syndrome in twins. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed), 295, 10271028.
Danese, A., Moffitt, T. E., Pariante, C. M., Ambler, A., Poulton, R. & Caspi, A. 2008. Elevated inflammation levels in depressed adults with a history of childhood maltreatment. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65, 409415.
Danese, A., Pariante, C. M., Caspi, A., Taylor, A. & Poulton, R. 2007. Childhood maltreatment predicts adult inflammation in a life-course study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104, 13191324.
Davis, E. P., Snidman, N., Wadhwa, P. D., Glynn, L. M., Schetter, C. D. & Sandman, C. 2004. Prenatal maternal anxiety and depression predict negative behavioral reactivity in infancy. Infancy, 6, 319331.
de Bellis, M. D., Chrousos, G. P., Dorn, L. D., Burke, L., Helmers, K., Kling, M. A., Trickett, P. K. & Putnam, F. W. 1994. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation in sexually abused girls. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 78, 249255.
de Zegher, F., DeVlieger, H. & Veldhuis, J. D. 1992. Pulsatile and sexually dimorphic secretion of luteinizing hormone in the human infant on the day of birth. Pediatric research, 32, 605607.
Dieter, J. N., Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Jones, N. A., Lecanuet, J. P., Salman, F. A. & Redzepi, M. 2001. Maternal depression and increased fetal activity. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 21, 468473.
Duman, R. S. 2009. Neuronal damage and protection in the pathophysiology and treatment of psychiatric illness: Stress and depression. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 11, 239255.
Eberhard-Gran, M., Eskild, A., Tambs, K., Samuelsen, S. O. & Opjordsmoen, S. 2002. Depression in postpartum and non-postpartum women: Prevalence and risk factors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 106, 426433.
Finegan, J. A., Bartleman, B. & Wong, P. Y. 1989. A window for the study of prenatal sex hormone influences on postnatal development. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 150, 101112.
Forty, L., Jones, L., Macgregor, S., Caesar, S., Cooper, C., Hough, A., Dean, L., Dave, S., Farmer, A., McGuffin, P., Brewster, S., Craddock, N. & Jones, I. 2006. Familiality of postpartum depression in unipolar disorder: Results of a family study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 15491553.
Freeman, E. W., Sammel, M. D., Liu, L., Gracia, C. R., Nelson, D. B. & Hollander, L. 2004. Hormones and menopausal status as predictors of depression in women in transition to menopause. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 6270.
Glover, V. 2011. Annual Research Review: Prenatal stress and the origins of psychopathology: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 356367.
Glover, V., Bergman, K., Sarkar, P. & O’Connor, T. G. 2009a. Association between maternal and amniotic fluid cortisol is moderated by maternal anxiety. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 430435.
Glover, V., O'Connor, T. G. & O'Donnell, K. 2009b. Prenatal stress and the programming of the HPA axis. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 1722.
Grimshaw, G. M., Sitarenios, G. & Finegan, J. A. 1995. Mental rotation at 7 years: Relations with prenatal testosterone levels and spatial play experiences. Brain and Cognition, 29, 85100.
Heim, C., Newport, D. J., Mletzko, T., Miller, A. H. & Nemeroff, C. B. 2008. The link between childhood trauma and depression: Insights from HPA axis studies in humans. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 33, 693710.
Heron, J., Robertson Blackmore, E., McGuinness, M., Craddock, N. & Jones, I. 2007. No “latent period” in the onset of bipolar affective puerperal psychosis. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 10, 7981.
Hines, M., Brook, C. & Conway, G. S. 2004. Androgen and psychosexual development: Core gender identity, sexual orientation and recalled childhood gender role behavior in women and men with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Journal of Sex Research, 41, 7581.
Holmes, M. C., Abrahamsen, C. T., French, K. L., Paterson, J. M., Mullins, J. J. & Seckl, J. R. 2006. The mother or the fetus? 11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 null mice provide evidence for direct fetal programming of behavior by endogenous glucocorticoids. Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 38403844.
Hughes, I. A. 2001. Minireview: Sex differentiation. Endocrinology, 142, 32813287.
Huizink, A. C., Dick, D. M., Sihvola, E., Pulkkinen, L., Rose, R. J. & Kaprio, J. 2007. Chernobyl exposure as stressor during pregnancy and behaviour in adolescent offspring. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 116, 438446.
Huizink, A., Mulder, E. & Buitelaar, J. 2004. Prenatal stress and risk for psychopathology: Specific effects or induction of general susceptibility? . Psychological Bulletin, 130, 115142.
Huo, L., Straub, R. E., Roca, C., Schmidt, P. J., Shi, K., Vakkalanka, R., Weinberger, D. R. & Rubinow, D. R. 2007. Risk for premenstrual dysphoric disorder is associated with genetic variation in ESR1, the estrogen receptor alpha gene. Biological Psychiatry, 62, 925933.
Jablensky, A., Sartorius, N. & Ernberg, G. 1992. Schizophrenia: Manifestations, incidence and course in different cultures. A World Health Organisation Ten-Country Study. Psychological Medicine Monograph, 20.
Jones, I. & Craddock, N. 2001. Familiality of the puerperal trigger in bipolar disorder: Results of a family study. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 913917.
Jones, I. & Craddock, N. 2007. Searching for the puerperal trigger: Molecular genetic studies of bipolar affective puerperal psychosis. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 40, 115128.
Jutapakdeegul, N., Afadlal, S., Polaboon, N., Phansuwan-Pujito, P. & Govitrapong, P. 2010. Repeated restraint stress and corticosterone injections during late pregnancy alter GAP-43 expression in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of rat pups. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 28, 8390.
Kendler, K. S., Karkowski, L. M., Corey, L. A. & Neale, M. C. 1998. Longitudinal population-based twin study of retrospectively reported premenstrual symptoms and lifetime major depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 155, 12341240.
Kendler, K. S., Silberg, J. L., Neale, M. C., Kessler, R. C., Heath, A. C. & Eaves, L. J. 1992. Genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of menstrual, premenstrual and neurotic symptoms: A population-based twin study. Psychological Medicine, 22, 85100.
Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., Williams, B., Newcombe, R., Craig, I. W. & Moffitt, T. E. 2006. MAOA, maltreatment, and gene-environment interaction predicting children’s mental health: New evidence and a meta-analysis. Molecular Psychiatry, 11, 903913.
Kinney, D. K., Miller, A. M., Crowley, D. J., Huang, E. & Gerber, E. 2008a. Autism prevalence following prenatal exposure to hurricanes and tropical storms in Louisiana. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 481488.
Kinney, D. K., Munir, K. M., Crowley, D. J. & Miller, A. M. 2008b. Prenatal stress and risk for autism. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32, 15191532.
Knickmeyer, R., Baron-Cohen, S., Raggatt, P. & Taylor, K. 2005. Foetal testosterone, social relationships, and restricted interests in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 46, 198210.
Kulkarni, J., de Castella, A., Fitzgerald, P. B., Gurvich, C. T., Bailey, M., Bartholomeusz, C. & Burger, H. 2008. Estrogen in severe mental illness: A potential new treatment approach. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65, 955960.
Lutchmaya, S., Baron-Cohen, S. & Raggatt, P. 2002a. Foetal testosterone and vocabulary size in 18- and 24-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development 24, 418424.
Lutchmaya, S., Baron-Cohen, S., Raggatt, P., Knickmeyer, R. & Manning, J. 2002b. Foetal testosterone and eye contact in 12-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 25, 327335.
Maartens, L. W., Knottnerus, J. A. & Pop, V. J. 2002. Menopausal transition and increased depressive symptomatology: A community based prospective study. Maturitas, 42, 195200.
Mairesse, J., Lesage, J., Breton, C., Breant, B, Hahn, T., Darnaudery, M., Dickson, S. L., Seckl, J., Blondeau, B., Vieau, D., Maccari, S. & Viltart, O. 2007. Maternal stress alters endocrine function of the feto-placental unit in rats. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology Metabolism, 292, E1526E1533.
Miller, G. E., Chen, E. & Parker, K. J. 2011. Psychological stress in childhood and susceptibility to the chronic diseases of aging: Moving toward a model of behavioral and biological mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 959997.
Mohler, E., Parzer, P., Brunner, R., Wiebel, A. & Resch, F. 2006. Emotional stress in pregnancy predicts human infant reactivity. Early Human Development, 82, 731737.
Munk-Olsen, T., Laursen, T. M., Pedersen, C. B., Mors, O. & Mortensen, P. B. 2006. New parents and mental disorders: A population-based register study. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 25822589.
Nee, L. E. & Lippa, C. F. 1999. Alzheimer’s disease in 22 twin pairs – 13-year follow-up: Hormonal, infectious and traumatic factors. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 10, 148151.
O’Connor, T. G., Heron, J., Golding, J., Beveridge, M. & Glover, V. 2002. Maternal antenatal anxiety and children's behavioural/emotional problems at 4 years. Report from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. British Journal of Psychiatry, 180, 502508.
O’Connor, T. G., Heron, J., Golding, J. & Glover, V. 2003. Maternal antenatal anxiety and behavioural/emotional problems in children: A test of a programming hypothesis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 10251036.
Pawlby, S., Hay, D., Sharp, D., Waters, C. S. & Pariante, C. M. 2011. Antenatal depression and offspring psychopathology: The influence of childhood maltreatment. British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 199, 106112.
Payne, J. L., Palmer, J. T. & Joffe, H. 2009. A reproductive subtype of depression: Conceptualizing models and moving toward etiology. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 17, 7286.
Payne, J. L., Roy, P. S., Murphy-Eberenz, K., Weismann, M. M., Swartz, K. L., McInnis, M. G., Nwulia, E., Mondimore, F. M., Mackinnon, D. F., Miller, E. B., Nurnberger, J. I., Levinson, D. F., Depaulo, J. R. Jr. & Potash, J. B. 2007. Reproductive cycle-associated mood symptoms in women with major depression and bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 99, 221229.
Phoenix, C. H., Goy, R. W., Gerall, A. A. & Young, W. C. 1959. Organizing action of prenatally administered testosterone propionate on the tissues mediating mating behavior in the female guinea pig. Endocrinology, 65, 369382.
Quigley, C. A. 2002. Editorial: The postnatal gonadotropin and sex steroid surge-insights from the androgen insensitivity syndrome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 87, 2428.
Rayburn, W. F., Christensen, H. D. & Gonzalez, C. L. 1997. A placebo-controlled comparison between betamethasone and dexamethasone for fetal maturation: Differences in neurobehavioral development of mice offspring. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 176, 842850; discussion 850–851.
Robertson, E., Jones, I., Haque, S., Holder, R. & Craddock, N. 2005. Risk of puerperal and non-puerperal recurrence of illness following bipolar affective puerperal (post-partum) psychosis. British Journal of Psychiatry: The Journal of Mental Science, 186, 258259.
Rocca, W. A., Bower, J. H., Maraganore, D. M., Ahlskog, J. E., Grossardt, B. R., de Andrade, M. & Melton, L. J. III 2007. Increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia in women who underwent oophorectomy before menopause. Neurology, 69, 10741083.
Rubinow, D. R., Schmidt, P. J. & Roca, C. A. 1998. Estrogen-serotonin interactions: Implications for affective regulation. Biological Psychiatry, 44, 839850.
Sagari, S., Craig, M. C., Dell’Acqua, F., O’Connor, T. G., Catani, M., Deeley, Q., Glover, V. & Murphy, D. G. M. 2014. Prenatal stress and limbic-prefrontal white matter microstructure in children aged 6–9 years: A preliminary diffusion tensor imaging study. The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 15(4), 346352.
Salm, A. K., Pavelko, M., Krouse, E. M., Webster, W., Kraszpulski, M. & Birkle, D. L. 2004. Lateral amygdaloid nucleus expansion in adult rats is associated with exposure to prenatal stress. Brain Research. Developmental Brain Research, 148, 159167.
Schmidt, P. J., Haq, N. & Rubinow, D. R. 2004. A longitudinal evaluation of the relationship between reproductive status and mood in perimenopausal women. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 22382244.
Schneider, M. L. & Coe, C. L. 1993. Repeated social stress during pregnancy impairs neuromotor development of the primate infant. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 14, 8187.
Schneider, M. L., Coe, C. L. & Lubach, G. R. 1992. Endocrine activation mimics the adverse effects of prenatal stress on the neuromotor development of the infant primate. Developmental Psychobiology, 25, 427439.
Schneider, M. L., Moore, C. F., Kraemer, G. W., Roberts, A. D. & Dejesus, O. T. 2002. The impact of prenatal stress, fetal alcohol exposure, or both on development: Perspectives from a primate model. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27, 285298.
Shirtcliff, E. A., Coe, C. L. & Pollak, S. D. 2009. Early childhood stress is associated with elevated antibody levels to herpes simplex virus type 1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106, 29632967.
Shumaker, S. A., Legault, C., Rapp, S. R., Thal, L., Wallace, R. B., Ockene, J. K., Hendrix, S. L., Jones, B. N. III, Assaf, A. R., Jackson, R. D., Morley Kotchen, J., Wassertheil-Smoller, S. & Wactawski-Wende, J. 2003. Estrogen plus progestin and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in postmenopausal women: The Women's Health Initiative Memory Study: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289, 26512662.
Soares, C., Almeida, O., Joffe, H. & Cohen, L. 2001. Efficacy of estradiol for the treatment of depressive disorders in perimenopausal women: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58, 529534.
Stewart, D. E. & Boydell, K. M. 1993. Psychologic distress during menopause: Associations across the reproductive life cycle. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 23, 157162.
Talge, N. M., Neal, C. & Glover, V. 2007a. Antenatal maternal stress and long-term effects on child neurodevelopment: How and why? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 48, 245261.
Talge, N. M., Neal, C. & Glover, V. 2007b. Antenatal maternal stress and long-term effects on child neurodevelopment: How and why? . Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 245261.
Taylor, S. E., Lehman, B. J., Kiefe, C. I. & Seeman, T. E. 2006. Relationship of early life stress and psychological functioning to adult C-reactive protein in the coronary artery risk development in young adults study. Biological Psychiatry, 60, 819824.
Trautman, P. D., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., Postelnek, J. & New, M. I. 1995. Effects of early prenatal dexamethasone on the cognitive and behavioral development of young children: Results of a pilot study. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 20, 439449.
Treloar, S. A., Martin, N. G., Bucholz, K. K., Madden, P. A. & Heath, A. C. 1999. Genetic influences on post-natal depressive symptoms: Findings from an Australian twin sample. Psychological Medicine, 29, 645654.
van den Bergh, B. R. H. & Marcoen, A. 2004. High antenatal maternal anxiety Is related to ADHD symptoms, externalizing problems, and anxiety in 8- and 9-year-olds. Child Development, 75, 10851097.
van den Bergh, B. R., Mulder, E. J., Mennes, M. & Glover, V. 2005. Antenatal maternal anxiety and stress and the neurobehavioural development of the fetus and child: Links and possible mechanisms. A review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Review, 29, 237258.
Wadhwa, P. 1998. Prenatal stress and life-span development. In: Friedman, H. S. (ed.) Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press.
Weinstock, M. 2001. Alterations induced by gestational stress in brain morphology and behaviour of the offspring. Progress in Neurobiology, 65, 427451.
Widholm, O. & Kantero, R. L. 1971. A statistical analysis of the menstrual patterns of 8,000 Finnish girls and their mothers. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand Suppl, 14, Suppl 14:136.