Preliminary evidence for an association between aggressive and hostile behaviour and 3αc,5α-tetrahydroprogesterone plasma levels in schizophrenia

Gianfranco Spalletta, Elena Romeo, Giuseppina Bonaviri, Giorgio Bernardi, Carlo Caltagirone, Flavia Di Michele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Because it has been suggested that agents acting on the γ-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptor complex, such as the neuroactive steroid 3α,5α-tetrahydroprogesterone (3α,5α-THP), may be biologic modulators of aggression, we aimed to measure 3α,5α-THP plasma concentrations in subjects with schizophrenia in order to investigate a possible relation with aggressive and hostile behaviour. Methods: Eight outpatients with schizophrenia diagnosed according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV), were included. Aggression and hostility were assessed using the Modified Overt Aggression Scale and the paranoid/ belligerence symptom cluster of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Plasma samples were obtained 1 hour before psychometric assessment and were quantified for 3α,5α-THP using a highly sensitive and specific combined analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results: Increased aggressiveness and hostility were associated with increased 3α,5α- THP plasma levels (Pearson r = 0.72, p = 0.043 and Pearson r = 0.72, p = 0.041, respectively). Conclusions: These preliminary results suggest that the neuroactive steroid 3α,5α-THP may affect aggression and hostility in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Volume30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)

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