Sex, migraine and serotonin interrelationships

Monogr Neural Sci. 1976;3:94-101. doi: 10.1159/000399340.


Sexual deficiency or frank impotence in man could be due to an imbalance of monoamines, particularly 5-HT, at the mating center level. An absolute or relative excess of 5-HT seems to antagonize testosterone at the level of the mating center receptors in the brain. Plasma testosterone levels in so-called psychological impotence are normal. When the 5-HT concentration in sexually deficient men is sufficiently decreased with parachlorophenylalanine (PCPA) treatment and testosterone levels increased following its administration, a vivid sexual stimulation appears in about half of the untractable cases. Similar results are observed by substituting testosterone with monoamine oxydase inhibitor (MAOI) in PCPA-treated volunteers. Furthermore, MAOI-PCPA are administered to emphasize the brain shift between serotonin and catecholamines. Yet the PCPA-MAOI treatment avoids the prostate carcinogenic risk of testosterone administration in aging males, and seems to have euphorizing effects stronger than those expected only from MAOI therapy. Because of the several side effects of PCPA-MAOI testosterone, the present experiments should be interpreted very cautiously.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fenclonine / pharmacology
  • Headache / complications
  • Headache / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menstruation
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Serotonin / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use
  • Tryptophan / therapeutic use


  • Serotonin
  • Testosterone
  • Tryptophan
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • Fenclonine