Hormone May Boost Teen Mood Swings
Hormone Calms Adults and Kids but May Boost Anxiety and Mood Swings in Teens
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
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
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