Exploring the role of testosterone in the cerebellum link to neuroticism: From adolescence to early adulthood
Number of pages
SourcePsychoneuroendocrinology, 78, (2017), pp. 203-212
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Previous research has found an association between a smaller cerebellar volume and higher levels of neuroticism. The steroid hormone testosterone reduces stress responses and the susceptibility to negative mood. Together with in vitro studies showing a positive effect of testosterone on cerebellar gray matter volumes, we set out to explore the role of testosterone in the relation between cerebellar gray matter and neuroticism. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired, and indices of neurotic personality traits were assessed by administering the depression and anxiety scale of the revised NEO personality inventory and Grays's behavioural avoidance in one hundred and forty-nine healthy volunteers between 10 and 27 years of age. Results demonstrated an inverse relation between total brain corrected cerebellar volumes and neurotic personality traits in adolescents and young adults. In males, higher endogenous testosterone levels were associated with lower scores on neurotic personality traits and larger cerebellar gray matter volumes. No such relations were observed in the female participants which may be due to general differences in endogenous testosterone levels. Analysis showed that testosterone significantly mediated the relation between male cerebellar gray matter and measures of neuroticism. Our findings on the interrelations between endogenous testosterone, neuroticism and cerebellar morphology provide a cerebellum-oriented framework for the susceptibility to experience negative emotions and mood in adolescence and early adulthood.
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