Dissecting the syndrome of schizophrenia: Associations between symptomatology and hormone levels in women with schizophrenia

Natalie Thomas, Caroline Gurvich, Abdul Rahman Hudaib, Emorfia Gavrilidis, Jayashri Kulkarni

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Despite many studies implicating reproductive hormones in the development and outcome of schizophrenia, few have characterised the association between symptomatology and hormonal trajectories. To understand the influence of hormones on schizophrenia symptoms, serum steroids (estradiol, progesterone, follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)) and psychopathology (The positive-and-negative-syndrome-scale(PANSS)) and depression (Montgomery-Asberg-Depression-Rating Scale(MADRS)) were collected across 12-weeks in 45 women (mean age 46) diagnosed with schizophrenia. To account for potential heterogeneity, Group-based-trajectory-modelling of psychopathology was used to identify distinct subgroups of individuals following a similar pattern of association between symptom score and hormone levels over-time. Two trajectories were identified for PANSS: one subgroup with lower symptom severity was associated with FSH, DHEA, LH, and another high severity subgroup associated with LH. Two trajectories were identified for MADRS: ‘depressed’ (associated with FSH), and non-depressed. The result delineates subpopulations with unique psychopathology and hormone associations that support the hypothesis that reproductive hormones play a role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and that heterogeneity may exist in hormonal sensitivities in the schizophrenia population. Stratification of subjects according to biological phenotype may help improve existing treatments through personalised-medicine strategies. The endocrine system may be one such biological mechanism to continue dissecting the syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112510
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Group based trajectory modelling
  • Heterogeneity
  • Hormones
  • Schizophrenia

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