Pubertal hormones organize the adolescent brain and behavior

Front Neuroendocrinol. Oct-Dec 2005;26(3-4):163-74. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2005.10.003. Epub 2005 Nov 23.


Maturation of the reproductive system during puberty results in elevated levels of gonadal steroid hormones. These hormones sculpt neural circuits during adolescence, a time of dramatic rewiring of the nervous system. Here, we review the evidence that steroid-dependent organization of the adolescent brain programs a variety of adult behaviors in animals and humans. Converging lines of evidence indicate that adolescence may be a sensitive period for steroid-dependent brain organization and that variation in the timing of interactions between the hormones of puberty and the adolescent brain leads to individual differences in adult behavior and risk of sex-biased psychopathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Development / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Critical Period, Psychological
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Gonads / growth & development
  • Gonads / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / growth & development
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones