4 years ago

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) and emotional processing — A behavioral and electrophysiological approach

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEAS) may have mood enhancement effects: higher DHEAS concentrations and DHEA/cortisol ratio have been related to lower depression scores and controlled trials of DHEA administration have reported significant antidepressant effects. The balance between DHEAS and DHEA has been suggested to influence brain functioning. We explored DHEAS, DHEA, cortisol, DHEA/cortisol and DHEAS/DHEA ratios relations to the processing of negative emotional stimuli at behavioral and brain levels by recording the electroencephalogram of 21 young women while performing a visual task with implicit neutral or negative emotional content in an audio–visual oddball paradigm. For each condition, salivary DHEA, DHEAS and cortisol were measured before performing the task and at 30 and 60min intervals. DHEA increased after task performance, independent of the implicit emotional content. With implicit negative emotion, higher DHEAS/DHEA and DHEA/cortisol ratios before task performance were related to shorter visual P300 latencies suggesting faster brain processing under a negative emotional context. In addition, higher DHEAS/DHEA ratios were related to reduced visual P300 amplitudes, indicating less processing of the negative emotional stimuli. With this study, we could show that at the electrophysiological level, higher DHEAS/DHEA and DHEA/cortisol ratios were related to shorter stimulus evaluation times suggesting less interference of the implicit negative content of the stimuli with the task. Furthermore, higher DHEAS/DHEA ratios were related to reduced processing of negative emotional stimuli which may eventually constitute a protective mechanism against negative information overload.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0018506X15001117

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