Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of ijpsychHomeCurrent issueInstructionsSubmit article
Indian J Psychiatry. 2003 Oct-Dec; 45(4): 205–207.
PMCID: PMC2952365

Is oestrogen a ‘biological neuroleptic’?


Objective :

Oestrogen-hypothesis in schizophrenia is a largely debated issue. Being a multifactor disorder, schizophrenia has gained importance in the field of psychiatric research, especially to dig out the tentative aetiologies (genetic, biological, environmental etc.), still under tested or not tested. The present article is an attempt only to understand the possible role of oestrogen as a ‘core’ biological factor at the backdrop of male-female differences (in the onset, course, treatment response, prognosis) in schizophrenia barring other factors. This is to reduce the level of ‘conflict’ and ‘confusion’ in the article.

Method :

Electronic data search is the mainstay of the literature bank, included in the article and only ’supportive’ evidences (direct and indirect) are incorporated to understand the role of oestrogen in the brain at the backdrop of schizophrenia.


The study comes out with a postulation that oestrogen has got a potential effect in moderating the process of schizophrenia in the females.

Conclusion :

Oestrogen could be tested as the ’novel’ therapeutic agent in the female schizophrenics with the necessary support from the modern Nuclear Imaging Techniques to get maximum therapeutic benefit in schizophrenia.

Keywords: schizophrenia, oestrogen, dopamine, serotonin

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (159K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Chaves AC, Seeman MV, Mari JJ, Maluf A. Schizophrenia: impact of positive symptoms on gender social role. Schizophr Res. 1993 Dec;11(1):41–45. [PubMed]
  • Riecher-Rössler A, Häfner H, Stumbaum M, Maurer K, Schmidt R. Can estradiol modulate schizophrenic symptomatology? Schizophr Bull. 1994;20(1):203–214. [PubMed]
  • Davies A, McIvor RJ, Kumar RC. Impact of childbirth on a series of schizophrenic mothers: a comment on the possible influence of oestrogen on schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 1995 Jul;16(1):25–31. [PubMed]
  • Huber JC, Schneeberger C, Tempfer CB. Genetic modelling of the estrogen metabolism as a risk factor of hormone-dependent disorders. Maturitas. 2002 May 20;42(1):1–12. [PubMed]
  • Ozsoy M, Oral B, Ozsoy D. Clinical equivalence of intranasal estradiol and oral estrogens for postmenopausal symptoms. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2002 Nov;79(2):143–146. [PubMed]
  • Gregoire AJ, Kumar R, Everitt B, Henderson AF, Studd JW. Transdermal oestrogen for treatment of severe postnatal depression. Lancet. 1996 Apr 6;347(9006):930–933. [PubMed]
  • Kopala LC, Lewine R, Good KP, Fluker M, Martzke JS, Lapointe JS, Honer WG. Clinical features of schizophrenia in a woman with hyperandrogenism. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 1997 Jan;22(1):56–60. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gattaz WF, Behrens S, De Vry J, Häfner H. Ostradiol hemmt Dopamin-vermittelte Verhaltensweisen bei Ratten--ein Tiermodell zur Untersuchung der geschlechtsspezifischen Unterschiede bei der Schizophrenie. Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 1992 Jan;60(1):8–16. [PubMed]
  • Bossé R, DiPaolo T. The modulation of brain dopamine and GABAA receptors by estradiol: a clue for CNS changes occurring at menopause. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 1996 Apr;16(2):199–212. [PubMed]
  • Fink G, Sumner BE, Rosie R, Grace O, Quinn JP. Estrogen control of central neurotransmission: effect on mood, mental state, and memory. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 1996 Jun;16(3):325–344. [PubMed]
  • Fink G, Sumner BE, McQueen JK, Wilson H, Rosie R. Sex steroid control of mood, mental state and memory. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1998 Oct;25(10):764–775. [PubMed]
  • Sumner BE, Fink G. Testosterone as well as estrogen increases serotonin2A receptor mRNA and binding site densities in the male rat brain. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1998 Aug 31;59(2):205–214. [PubMed]
  • Fink G, Sumner B, Rosie R, Wilson H, McQueen J. Androgen actions on central serotonin neurotransmission: relevance for mood, mental state and memory. Behav Brain Res. 1999 Nov 1;105(1):53–68. [PubMed]
  • Osterlund MK, Halldin C, Hurd YL. Effects of chronic 17beta-estradiol treatment on the serotonin 5-HT(1A) receptor mRNA and binding levels in the rat brain. Synapse. 2000 Jan;35(1):39–44. [PubMed]
  • Lindamer LA, Lohr JB, Harris MJ, Jeste DV. Gender, estrogen, and schizophrenia. Psychopharmacol Bull. 1997;33(2):221–228. [PubMed]
  • Kulkarni J, Riedel A, de Castella AR, Fitzgerald PB, Rolfe TJ, Taffe J, Burger H. Estrogen - a potential treatment for schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2001 Mar 1;48(1):137–144. [PubMed]
  • Grigoriadis Sophie, Seeman Mary V. The role of estrogen in schizophrenia: implications for schizophrenia practice guidelines for women. Can J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;47(5):437–442. [PubMed]
  • Hoff AL, Kremen WS, Wieneke MH, Lauriello J, Blankfeld HM, Faustman WO, Csernansky JG, Nordahl TE. Association of estrogen levels with neuropsychological performance in women with schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Jul;158(7):1134–1139. [PubMed]
  • Liao Ding-Lieh, Chen Hung, Lee Shin-Min, Tsai Shih-Jen. Estrogen supplementation for female schizophrenics treated with atypical antipsychotics. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2002 Sep-Oct;24(5):357–359. [PubMed]
  • Garcia-Segura LM, Azcoitia I, DonCarlos LL. Neuroprotection by estradiol. Prog Neurobiol. 2001 Jan;63(1):29–60. [PubMed]

Articles from Indian Journal of Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Wolters Kluwer -- Medknow Publications