Caitlin obtained her Bachelor of Science, majoring in Neuroscience, from the University of Sydney in 2015. She then completed Honours in Neuroscience at the University of New South Wales and NeuRA in 2016, achieving First Class Honours and receiving the Paxinos-Watson Prize. Caitlin is now undertaking a PhD in the area of neuroinflammation with Cyndi Shannon Weickert in the Schizophrenia Research Laboratory
DEBORA ROTHMOND Senior Research Assistant
DANNY BOERRIGTER Research assistant
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Schizophrenia is a disabling illness that is typically first diagnosed during late adolescence to early adulthood, has an unremitting course, and is often treatment resistance. Many clinical aspects of the illness suggest that sex steroid-nervous system interactions may contribute to the onset and course of symptoms and the cognitive impairment displayed by men and women with schizophrenia. Here, we discuss the actions of estrogen and testosterone on the brain during adolescent development and in schizophrenia from the perspective of experimental studies in animals, human post-mortem studies, magnetic resonance imaging studies in living humans, and clinical trials of sex steroid based treatments. We present evidence of potential beneficial, as well as detrimental, effects of both testosterone and estrogen. We provide a rationale for the necessity to further elucidate sex steroid mechanisms of action at different ages, genders and brain regions to more fully understand the role of testosterone and estrogen in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The weight of the evidence suggests that sex steroid hormones influence mammalian brain function, including both cognition and emotion and that pharmaceutical agents aimed at sex steroid receptors appear to provide a novel treatment avenue to reduce symptoms and improve cognition in men and women with schizophrenia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.