Grey matter correlates of affective and somatic symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Sci Rep. 2022 Apr 9;12(1):5996. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-07109-3.


Ovarian hormones fluctuations across the menstrual cycle are experienced by about 58% of women in their fertile age. Maladaptive brain sensitivity to these changes likely leads to the severe psychological, cognitive, and physical symptoms repeatedly experienced by women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. However, the neuroanatomical correlates of these symptoms are unknown. The relationship between grey matter structure and PMDD symptom severity was delineated using structural magnetic resonance imaging during the late luteal phase of fifty-one women diagnosed with PMDD, combined with Voxel- and Surface-Based Morphometry, as well as subcortical volumetric analyses. A negative correlation was found between depression-related symptoms and grey matter volume of the bilateral amygdala. Moreover, the severity of affective and somatic PMDD symptoms correlated with cortical thickness, gyrification, sulcal depth, and complexity metrics, particularly in the prefrontal, cingulate, and parahippocampal gyri. The present findings provide the first evidence of grey matter morphological characteristics associated with PMDD symptomatology in brain regions expressing ovarian hormone receptors and of relevance to cognitive-affective functions, thus potentially having important implications for understanding how structural brain characteristics relate to PMDD symptomatology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Luteal Phase
  • Medically Unexplained Symptoms*
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome* / diagnostic imaging
  • Premenstrual Syndrome* / psychology