Neurosteroids and behavior

Sharon R. Engel, Kathleen (Kathy) Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neurosteroid production may be a mechanism to counteract the negative effects of stress and return organisms toward homeostasis. Stress induces an increase in neurosteroid production. Neurosteroids affect two of the most widely distributed neurotransmitter and receptor systems in the central nervous system (CNS): y-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate. This ability of this class of compounds to affect both the primary excitatory and the inhibitory systems in the CNS allows the modulation of a wide array of behaviors. For example, neurosteroids modulate anxiety, cognition, sleep, ingestion, aggression, and reinforcement. In general, neurosteroids that are positive modulators of jV-methyl-D-aspartate receptors enhance cognitive performance and decrease appetite. Neurosteroids that are positive modulators of GABA\ receptors decrease anxiety, increase feeding and sleeping, and exhibit a bimodal effect on aggression that may be secondary to effects on anxiety and cognition. Some data suggest that neurosteroids have reinforcing effects, which could affect their clinical utility. Drug discrimination studies are helping scientists to dissect more closely the receptor systems affected by neurosteroids at the behavioral level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-348
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Review of Neurobiology
Volume46
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Neurotransmitter Agents
Anxiety
Aggression
Cognition
Central Nervous System
Aminobutyrates
D-Aspartic Acid
Neurotransmitter Receptor
Aptitude
GABA Receptors
Appetite
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Glutamic Acid
Sleep
Homeostasis
Eating
Pharmaceutical Preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Neurosteroids and behavior. / Engel, Sharon R.; Grant, Kathleen (Kathy).

In: International Review of Neurobiology, Vol. 46, 2001, p. 321-348.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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