Hormonal sensitivity and brain function: Do oral contraceptives distort serotonergic brain architecture and does discontinuation restore it?
- FORSKNINGSPROJEKT 1
- SUNDHED OG SYGDOM
Vibe Gedsø Frøkjær
Women who use oral contraceptives face an increased risk of developing depressive episodes. We do not know why. Recent cross-sectional findings from our group raises the question if oral contraceptives distort serotonergic brain architecture, which may critically disturb brain function and increase risk of depressive symptoms at least in hormone sensitive women. Using frontier molecular brain imaging techniques and a longitudinal design including baseline, and on-/off states of oral contraceptive use, we here propose to directly illuminate serotonergic brain signatures of using oral contraceptives and determine its reversibility in healthy young women who are first time users. We anticipate that this work will critically advance our understanding of how changes in sex-hormone milieu increase susceptibility for depressive episodes and provide novel preventive and therapeutic opportunities, which holds grand potential to protect mental health.