The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of hormonal changes during pregnancy and lactation on the expression of peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors in platelet membranes. Platelet peripheral benzodiazepine receptor binding characteristics, Hamilton anxiety and depression rating Scores, and progesterone and prolactin (PRL) levels were evaluated during pregnancy and lactation in 17 pregnant women [first (n = 9) and third (n = 8) trimesters], 10 lactating women, and 8 nonpregnant women. A significant decrease (38-41%) in peripheral benzodiazepine receptor density was observed in women during the third trimester of pregnancy when compared to nonpregnant controls and women in their first trimester of pregnancy. The decrease is peripheral benzodiazepine receptors was parallel to the peak in progesterone and PRL secretion. The reduction in peripheral benzodiazepine receptor expression is hormone-dependent and may play a regulatory role geared to prevent pregnancy-related overactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, and hypothalamic-PRL axes. Copyright (C) 1999 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Ruth Singer for editorial assistance. This work was supported by Grant 91-00146 from the U.S.–Israel Binational Science Foundation and by Grant 181-378 from the Fund for Promotion of Research at the Technion.
- Benzodiazepine receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health