Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Affective Symptoms, and Neuroactive Steroids: a Focus on Allopregnanolone

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: To provide an overview of existing studies on alterations in gonadal and neuroactive steroids (NASs) and mood symptoms among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Recent Findings: Recent studies have demonstrated a previously underappreciated association between PCOS and comorbid depression and anxiety. However, most studies on affective symptoms among women with PCOS have been cross-sectional, limiting our knowledge about fluctuations in symptoms over the menstrual cycle and reproductive lifespan for women with PCOS, as well as the potential interplay between NAS alterations and mood symptoms. Changes in the NAS allopregnanolone (ALLO) have been implicated in several reproductive-related psychiatric disorders (e.g., premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and postpartum depression (PPD)) as well as in normal reproductive functioning, warranting further investigation for its potential role in the psychiatric symptoms observed in women with PCOS. Summary: Prospective studies evaluating associations between psychiatric symptoms and NAS are needed to elucidate the biological causes of the increased rates of psychiatric symptoms among women with PCOS and inform clinical treatment. ALLO, with its role in normal reproductive function, menstrual dysregulation among women with PCOS, and reproductive-related psychiatric conditions, makes it a particularly intriguing candidate for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood
  • Neurosteroids
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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