Hormones and schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOther

56 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: It is a well established fact that many serious mental illnesses, in particular psychoses such as schizophrenia, may have a significant hormonal aetiological component. This study aims to discuss the oestrogen protection hypothesis of schizophrenia in particular, with an emphasis on findings from the recent literature in support of this theory. Recent Findings: Epidemiological and life-cycle data point to significant differences in the incidence and course of schizophrenia between men and women, suggesting a protective role of oestrogen. In-vitro and in-vivo preclinical research has confirmed oestradiol s interactions with central neurotransmitter systems implicated in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia, whereas results from randomized controlled trials investigating the antipsychotic potential of oestrogen have been promising. Research into other neuroactive hormones with possible effects on mental state is a field still in its infancy but is evolving rapidly. Summary: Schizophrenia and related psychoses are pervasive and debilitating conditions, for which currently available treatments are often only partially effective and entail a high risk of serious side effects. Thus, new therapeutic strategies are needed, and the literature reviewed here suggests that hormones such as oestrogen could be a viable option. It is hoped that, with further research and larger trials, the oestrogen hypothesis can be translated into effective clinical practice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89 - 95
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this