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Schizophrenia Research and Treatment
Volume 2016, Article ID 1942828, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/1942828
Research Article

Neuroactive Steroids in First-Episode Psychosis: A Role for Progesterone?

1Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology and Genetics, Section of Psychiatry, University of Genova, Genova, Italy
2Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, London, UK
3Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Center for Applied Biomedical Research (CRBA), St. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
4Bologna Transcultural Psychosomatic Team (BoTPT), Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
5Section of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
6Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Received 29 May 2016; Revised 4 August 2016; Accepted 17 August 2016

Academic Editor: Markus Jäger

Copyright © 2016 Martino Belvederi Murri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Neuroactive steroids may play a role in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders, but few studies examined this issue. We compared serum levels of cortisol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, and progesterone between a representative sample of first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients and age- and gender-matched healthy subjects. Furthermore, we analyzed the associations between neuroactive steroids levels and the severity of psychotic symptom dimensions. Male patients had lower levels of progesterone than controls (). Progesterone levels were inversely associated with the severity of positive symptoms (). Consistent with preclinical findings, results suggest that progesterone might have a role in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders.