Estrogen Prevents 5-HT1A Receptor-Induced Disruptions of Prepulse Inhibition in Healthy Women Academic Article uri icon


  • The sex steroid hormone, estrogen, has been proposed to be protective against schizophrenia. This study examined the effects of estrogen treatment on modulation of prepulse inhibition (PPI) by the serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) receptor partial agonist, buspirone. PPI is a model of sensorimotor gating, which is deficient in schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. A total of 11 healthy women were tested following four acute treatment conditions: placebo, buspirone (Buspar; 5 mg), estradiol (Estrofem; 2 mg), and combined buspirone and estradiol. Electromyogram activity was measured across three interstimulus intervals (ISI): 30, 60, and 120 ms. There was no significant effect of either drug treatment on startle amplitude or habituation. At 120 ms ISI, buspirone caused a significant disruption of PPI and pretreatment with estrogen prevented this disruption. Estrogen treatment, administered in the appropriate experimental conditions, prevented PPI deficits induced by 5-HT(1A) receptor activation and may therefore also play a protective role in sensorimotor gating deficits in schizophrenia.


  • van den Buuse, Maarten
  • Gogos, Andrea
  • Nathan, Pradeep J
  • Guille, Valérie
  • Croft, Rodney J
  • Buuse, Maarten van den

publication date

  • April 2006