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Antipsychotic effects of sex hormones and atypical hemispheric asymmetries.

Hodgetts, S. and Hausmann, M. (2020) 'Antipsychotic effects of sex hormones and atypical hemispheric asymmetries.', Cortex., 127 . pp. 313-332.


Functional cerebral asymmetries (FCAs) are a fundamental principle of brain organisation. While specific patterns of asymmetry are characteristic of healthy human brains, atypical or reduced FCAs have been reported for several psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and mood disorders. However, it is unclear whether atypical FCAs reflect a predisposition to psychotic disorders or a compensatory neural strategy for the progressive structural and functional changes in the brain associated with psychosis. A separate stream of research has demonstrated the antipsychotic effects of sex hormones in clinical populations. Moreover, modern neuroscience has shown that sex hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can affect FCAs due to their organising effects (e.g. during prenatal development), and also by their activating effects throughout life (e.g. in younger women during the menstrual cycle or in post-menopausal women as a consequence of hormone therapy). By combining these research streams, this narrative literature review explores the relationship between the neuromodulatory properties of estrogen, FCAs and psychotic and psychotic-like symptoms. This research is not only of theoretical interest for the understanding of FCAs and psychotic symptoms, but might also be of clinical relevance for the development of stratified treatment approaches for women and men suffering from psychosis and mood disorders.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:29 February 2020
Date deposited:13 March 2020
Date of first online publication:11 March 2020
Date first made open access:11 March 2021

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