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Interrelationships between Hormones, Behavior, and Affect during Adolescence: Complex Relationships Exist between Reproductive Hormones, Stress-Related Hormones, and the Activity of Neural Systems That Regulate Behavioral Affect. Comments on Part III



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    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA, The Oregon National Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97006, USA
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Address for correspondence: Judy L. Cameron, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Voice: 724-733-3795; fax: 724-327-1271.


Abstract: Adolescence is a period in life marked by change, encompassing physiological changes associated with pubertal development, changes in social status and the social stresses that an individual faces, and changes in behavioral affect regulation. The interactions between activity in the reproductive axis, the neural systems that regulate stress, hormones produced in response to stress, and neural systems governing behavioral affect regulation are complex and multifaceted. Although our understanding of these interactions remains rudimentary, we do know that stress can suppress activity of the reproductive axis, that reproductive hormones can modulate the activity of neural systems that govern the body's responses to stress, that both reproductive function and stress responsiveness can be altered in depressed individuals, and that the function of some of the key neural systems regulating behavioral affect (i.e., serotonergic, noradrenergic, dopaminergic systems) are modulated by both gonadal steroid hormones and adrenal steroid hormones. This summary reviews the central interactions discussed in this session on the interrelationships between hormones, behavior, and affect during adolescence and identifies key topics that require further investigation in order to understand the role that pubertal changes in reproductive function, interacting with increased exposure to life stresses, play in modulating behavioral affect regulation during the adolescent period.