Neurosteroids, neuroactive steroids, and symptoms of affective disorders

    B. Dubrovsky
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    TLDR Certain steroids in the brain affect mood and symptoms of depression, and treatments targeting these steroids show promise for improving these symptoms.
    The document from 2006 explores the relationship between neuroactive steroids (NAS) and neurosteroids (NS) with affective disorders, particularly depression. It indicates that NAS modulate various membrane receptors, such as GABA and sigma receptor complexes, and can influence symptoms like anxiety, sleep disturbances, and memory and sexual dysfunctions. The paper reports that NAS plasma concentrations change in patients with depression and return to normal with recovery, although normalization is not necessary for successful therapy. It also discusses the effects of Finasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor, which has been linked to mood disturbances in humans; 19 out of 23 patients with alopecia treated with Finasteride reported symptoms of depression, which subsided after discontinuing the treatment. The document suggests that focusing on NAS in relation to psychiatric symptoms rather than specific disorders may be more productive for understanding and treating psychiatric ailments. It also notes the potential therapeutic effects of DHEAS in depressive syndromes, with clinical studies showing symptom improvement. Lastly, the paper critiques the use of NAS levels as specific markers for psychiatric disorders and calls for a better understanding of brain organization and the interaction between affective and cognitive behaviors.
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