Progesterone level predicts serotonin-1A receptor binding in the male human brain

R. Lanzenberger, M. Mitterhauser, Georg Kranz, C. Spindelegger, W. Wadsak, P. Stein, U. Moser, M. Savli, K. Kletter, S. Kasper

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Progesterone (P) is thought to influence mood and affective states. Alterations of the inhibitory serotonin-1A (5-HT 1A) receptor distribution are associated with depression and anxiety. This study evaluates the influence of plasma P levels on the 5-HT 1A receptor binding in healthy male subjects. Methods: Molecular neuroimaging of the 5-HT 1A receptor distribution using positron emission tomography and hormone assays for total plasma P and cortisol were done in a sample of 18 healthy men. Results: Plasma P levels explained up to 65% of the variability in 5-HT 1A receptor binding in limbic regions including the amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex and retrosplenial cortex. When controlling for cortisol in the model, there was an expected decline in explained variances of 5-HT 1A binding attributed to P. Conclusions: The results of this study provide further support for the effect of P on 5-HT 1A receptor expression and raise the possibility that P mediates the vulnerability to mood disorders by affecting the serotonergic system. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortisol
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Progesterone
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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