Neurosteroids are physiological regulators of anxiety in experimental animals, but there are no data for humans about the modulatory effects of the hormones on normal aspects of this emotional parameter. Plasma concentrations of four neurosteroids, pregnenolone, progesterone (PROG), allopregnanolone and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone, suggested to be major anxiety regulators in experimental animals, were measured in a group of 58 physically and psychologically normal adult male subjects. In parallel, trait (genotypical) and state (phenotypical) anxiety scores were measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The possible correlations between the hormonal secretions and the psychological parameters were statistically analyzed. The neurosteroid concentrations and the anxiety scores of the probands were within the ranges of normality according to data of the literature and our own. PROG concentrations correlated significantly with state anxiety scores. These data suggest that neurosteroids may physiologically modulate anxiety not only in experimental animals but also in humans.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel