Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size

    Hormone May Boost Teen Mood Swings

    Hormone Calms Adults and Kids but May Boost Anxiety and Mood Swings in Teens
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 12, 2007 -- Teen mood swings may be partly due to a hormone that calms kids and adults but makes stressed teens more anxious.

    That news comes from lab tests on adolescent female mice, not teen girls.

    Sheryl Smith, PhD, and colleagues designed the mouse model to mimic the teen brain. Smith is an associate professor of physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Smith's team focused on a hormone called THP, which calms stressed children and adults. But THP may have the opposite effect in teens.

    In a lab, the researchers studied baby, teen, and adult female mice. The scientists gauged the mice's anxiety level by seeing how fast the mice scurried out of an open area after being briefly restrained.

    The baby and adult mice were less anxious when they received THP injections. But the stressed teen mice became more anxious with THP, the study shows.

    Puberty brings a dramatic rise in highly sensitive brain receptors for a brain chemical called GABA, note Smith and colleagues. THP may make stressed teens more anxious by blocking those GABA receptors, the scientists suggest.

    Adolescent males can also have mood swings, but this study didn't explore the brain chemistry of male mood swings.

    The study appears in the advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
    mother and daughter talking
    child brushing his teeth
    Sipping hot tea
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    hand holding a cell phone
    rl with friends
    girl being bullied
    Child with adhd