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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Jan;24(1):37-46.

Lower baseline plasma cortisol and prolactin together with increased body temperature and higher mCPP-induced cortisol responses in men with pedophilia.

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Department of Psychiatry & Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


There is some evidence that hormonal and serotonergic alterations may play a role in the pathophysiology of paraphilias. The aims of the present study were to examine: 1) baseline plasma cortisol, plasma prolactin, and body temperature; and 2) cortisol, prolactin, body temperature, as well as behavioral responses to meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) and placebo in pedophiles and normal men. Pedophiles showed significantly lower baseline plasma cortisol and prolactin concentrations and a higher body temperature than normal volunteers. The mCPP-induced cortisol responses were significantly greater in pedophiles than in normal volunteers. In normal volunteers, mCPP-induced a hyperthermic response, whereas in pedophiles no such response was observed. mCPP induced different behavioral responses in pedophiles than in normal men. In pedophiles, but not in normal men, mCPP increased the sensations "feeling dizzy, " "restless," and "strange" and decreased the sensation "feeling hungry". The results suggest that there are several serotonergic disturbances in pedophiles. It is hypothesized that the results are compatible with a decreased activity of the serotonergic presynaptic neuron and a 5-HT2 postsynaptic receptor hyperresponsivity.

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