Sexual dimorphism in schizophrenia: Is there a need for gender-based protocols?

Adrianna Mendrek, Emmanuel Stip

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Gender differences have been reported in various aspects of schizophrenia, including its epidemiology, clinical course and the response to antipsychotic medications. Over the past few years the authors have been investigating sex differences in brain function in individuals with schizophrenia and have found an intriguing disturbance of normal sexual dimorphism during emotional and cognitive processing. These results can be partly accounted for by altered levels of sex steroid hormones (i.e., estrogen and testosterone) in patients. A handful of clinical research groups have tried low doses of estrogen, testosterone or their precursors as adjunct therapies to the currently available antipsychotic medications in women and men with schizophrenia. The results have been promising, but further investigation is warranted. In the future, new more specific steroidal compounds will be developed and we will see more studies examining sex differences in the brain, behavior and mental health problems. This research will help to identify individuals who may benefit greatest from adjunct hormonal therapies and will further our understanding of the etiology of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-959
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adjunct therapy
  • estrogen
  • schizophrenia
  • sex differences
  • sex steroid hormones
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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