Serum allopregnanolone levels relate to FSFI score during the menstrual cycle

Rossella E. Nappi, Ileana Abbiati, Stefano Luisi, Francesca Ferdeghini, Franco Polatti, Andrea R. Genazzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to measure serum allopregnanolone levels and other hormones in women who completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI; Rosen et al., 2000) during the follicular or the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Twenty-nine women with a regular menstrual cycle completed the FSFI during days 5-7 and days 19-21 of their menstrual cycles. We collected a blood sample on the same days so that we could determine levels of allopregnanolone (AP), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), free testosterone (FreeT), androstenedione (A), and estradiol (E2); we stored serum at-20°C until we assayed it. We performed statistical analyses by parametric and nonparametric comparisons and correlations, as appropriate. We found that the full FSFI score was 23 ± 11.3 (mean ± SD; 31% under 95% confidence interval =18.7) in our study population. We also found a significant positive correlation between serum allopregnanolone levels and each FSFI domain, includingfull scale score (r = 0.47, p <0.01), with the exception of pain. Similarly, we found a positive correlation between FreeT and each FSFI domain and full scale score (r = 0.55, p <0.002). We found no significant correlation among FSFI scores and DHEA, A, or E2 plasma levels. It is interesting to note that FSFI full score was significantly higher (p <0.04) in women tested in the luteal phase compared to women tested in the follicular phase. Serum allopregnanolone may be relevant to female sexuality directly or by its influence on a woman's general sense of well-being during the menstrual cycle. Further studies are required to test the hypothesis that high serum allopregnanolone levels in the luteal questionnaires on sexual function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sex and Marital Therapy
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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