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Dev Psychobiol. 2015 Sep;57(6):688-704. doi: 10.1002/dev.21138. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

Neuroendocrine coupling across adolescence and the longitudinal influence of early life stress.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, WI, 53719-1176. ruttle@wisc.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 6001 Research Park Boulevard, Madison, WI, 53719-1176.

Abstract

Drawing on conceptual models illustrating the advantages of a multisystemic, interactive, developmental approach to understanding development, the present study examines the covariation of stress and sex hormones across the adolescent transition and the effect of early life stress (ELS) on neuroendocrine coupling to gain insight into atypical development. Morning levels of cortisol, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were assessed at ages 11, 13, and 15; ELS was assessed during the infancy and preschool periods. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that cortisol-DHEA coupling patterns progressed to tight, positive coupling across adolescence. Cortisol-testosterone coupling was positive at age 11 but became more negative at ages 13 and 15. Exposure to ELS resulted in more adultlike neuroendocrine coupling patterns earlier in life than non-exposed youth; however the effect of ELS on cortisol-testosterone coupling was unique to girls. Results illustrate trajectories of neuroendocrine coupling that may be unique to adolescence. Moderation by ELS suggests that early stress exposure may prompt earlier adultlike neuroendocrine coupling, particularly within girls, which may contribute to early pubertal development.

KEYWORDS:

DHEA; HPA-HPG coupling; adolescence; cortisol; early life stress; hierarchical linear modeling; testosterone

PMID:
23775330
DOI:
10.1002/dev.21138
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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