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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Apr;35(3):422-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2009.08.004. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Lower levels of prepulse inhibition in luteal phase cycling women in comparison with postmenopausal women.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Menopause denotes the end of the reproductive period in a woman's life and is characterized by gradually declining plasma levels of ovarian hormones. Mounting evidence suggests that prepulse inhibition (PPI) is sensitive to fluctuations in estradiol and progesterone. Deficits in PPI are associated with conditions characterized by increased levels of ovarian steroids, such as the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and the third trimester of pregnancy. The aim of the current study was to further elucidate ovarian steroid-related effects on PPI by examining 43 women with regular menstrual cycles, 20 healthy postmenopausal women without hormone replacement treatment (HRT) and 21 healthy postmenopausal women with ongoing estradiol-only or estradiol and progesterone therapy (EPT). Cycling women were tested during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle while postmenopausal women were tested on any arbitrary day. The PPI was measured by electromyography. Cycling women exhibited lower levels of PPI than postmenopausal women (p<0.05). There were no differences in PPI between postmenopausal HRT users and non-users. However, postmenopausal women with estradiol serum concentrations in the cycling range had lower PPI than postmenopausal women with low estradiol concentrations (groupxPPI interaction, p<0.05). In conclusion, the results further suggest a role for the ovarian steroids in PPI regulation as PPI is increased in postmenopausal women in comparison to regularly menstruating women examined during the late luteal phase. Furthermore, postmenopausal women with estradiol levels in the cycling range had lower PPI than postmenopausal women with low estradiol levels.

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