Gender differences in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity

Magdalena Uhart, Rachel Y. Chong, Lynn Marie Oswald, Ping I. Lin, Gary S Wand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study was designed to determine whether there are gender differences in hormonal response patterns to HPA axis activation. To this end, two methods of activating the HPA axis were employed: a standardized psychological stress test and a pharmacological challenge. Healthy subjects (mean age 23.4 years, SD 7.0 years) completed a naloxone challenge and/or the modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). For the naloxone challenge, two baseline blood samples were obtained. Placebo was then administered (0 min), followed by increasing doses of intravenous naloxone (50, 100, 200 and 400 μg/kg) at 30-min intervals. Post-placebo blood samples were collected at 15-min intervals for 180 min. The TSST consisted of 5 min of public speaking followed by 5 min of mental arithmetic exercises. Three baseline and five post-TSST blood samples were drawn. Eighty subjects (53 male, 27 female) underwent the TSST. Following the psychological stressor, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol responses were significantly greater in male subjects compared to female subjects (z=-2.34, p=0.019 and z=-2.12, p=0.034, respectively). Seventy-two subjects (52 male, 20 female) underwent HPA axis activation induced by naloxone. In contrast to the TSST, cortisol responses to the naloxone challenge were significantly greater in female subjects compared to male subjects (z=4.11, p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-652
Number of pages11
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

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Exercise Test
Naloxone
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
Hydrocortisone
Placebos
Psychological Tests
Psychological Stress
Healthy Volunteers
Pharmacology
Exercise
Psychology

Keywords

  • Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH)
  • Cortisol
  • Gender
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
  • Naloxone challenge
  • Trier social stress test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Gender differences in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity. / Uhart, Magdalena; Chong, Rachel Y.; Oswald, Lynn Marie; Lin, Ping I.; Wand, Gary S.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 31, No. 5, 06.2006, p. 642-652.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Uhart, Magdalena ; Chong, Rachel Y. ; Oswald, Lynn Marie ; Lin, Ping I. ; Wand, Gary S. / Gender differences in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity. In: Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006 ; Vol. 31, No. 5. pp. 642-652.
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