The effects of metabolic stress on plasma progesterone in healthy volunteers and schizophrenic patients

Alan Breier, Robert W. Buchanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


A number of preclinical studies suggest that progesterone may play an important role in the stress response, however, the effects of stress on progesterone in humans has not been established. Also, several lines of evidence indicate that schizophrenia may be associated with abnormal neurobiological responses to stress, but the effects of stress on progesterone in schizophrenia has not been investigated. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of stress on plasma progesterone and cortisol in healthy subjects and to determine if schizophrenic patients have altered stress-induced plasma progesterone levels compared to normal controls. Stress was induced through administration of 2-deoxyglucose (2DG), a glucose analog that impairs glucose metabolism resulting in a clinical state comparable to hypoglycemia. There were significant increases in plasma progesterone and cortisol levels following 2DG-induced glucoprivic stress in healthy controls. There was no relationship between stress related progesterone and cortisol elevations. Schizophrenic patients, in comparison to controls, had significantly greater 2DG-induced elevations in progesterone levels but no differences in stress-related cortisol levels. There was evidence that basal progesterone and cortisol levels were elevated in the schizophrenic patients. The implications of these data are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1527-1534
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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