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Exploring Gender and Sex Differences in Behavioral Dyscontrol: from Drug Addiction to Impulse Control Disorders

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198337 Year: Pages: 99 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-833-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychiatry --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Abstract

Males and females exhibit discrete attitudes and skills, experience dissimilar emotional and psychological needs, and react differently to peer pressure, lack of self-realization, or other personal and social expectations. In addition, they are differently influenced by family history, and diverge in the perception of self-image and health risks. To complicate the matter on gender dichotomy, male testosterone levels markedly vary over the course of the day, while female levels of sex hormones significantly fluctuate depending upon the menstrual cycle, the pre- or post-menopausal age, and the use of oral contraceptives. All of these factors interact with genetic background and sex hormonal fluctuations, and determine the differences observed in their predisposition to develop an addiction. This term is traditionally associated to the abuse of legal and illegal substances. However, a compulsion toward the engagement in a non-drug-related rewarding behavior, usually involving a natural reward, also activates the brain reward system and engenders persistent behavior, thus resulting in a diminished control over it. These latter behaviors are defined as “behavioral addictions”. This definition encompasses any behavior characterized by the followings: i) feeling of tension or arousal before the action; ii) gratification and/or relief at the time of performing the act; iii) inability to resist an urge or drive even against great obstacles or dangers; iv) absence of consideration for the negative consequences that may affect family, friends, and/or work. As such, behavioral addictions include compulsive food intake and sexual activity, pathological gambling and Internet addiction, excessive exercising, compulsive buying and pyromania. These behaviors, which are often classified as "impulse control disorders", result in actions that are harmful to oneself and/or others, share common features (e.g. compulsiveness, impulsivity, impaired decision-making, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, high rates of relapse), and involve dysfunction of several brain circuits. Derangement from functional neurobiological mechanisms underpinning both sensitivity to reward and inhibitory control can also lead to compulsive behaviors. For instance, pathological gambling and other impulse control disorders (e.g., hypersexuality, compulsive painting, eating and buying) are often reported in Parkinson's disease patients. Gender-dependent differences in the rate of initiation and frequency of misuse of addicting drugs have been widely described. Yet, men and women also differ in their propensity to become addicted to other rewarding stimuli (e.g. sex, food) or activities (e.g. gambling, exercising). The goal of the present Research Topic is to explore and summarize current evidence for gender (and sex) differences not only in drug addiction, but also in other forms of addictive behaviors. Thus, it will include studies showing gender-dependent differences in drug addiction, food addiction, compulsive sexual activity, pathological gambling, Internet addiction and physical exercise addiction. Psychiatric comorbidity, potential risk factors and the underlying neural mechanisms will be also examined, with particular emphasis to the role of sex hormones in modulating addictive and compulsive behaviors.

Hormonal and Neuroendocrine Regulation of Energy Balance

Authors: ---
Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198856 Year: Pages: 117 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-885-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Physiology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Alteration in adequate energy balance maintenance results in serious disturbances such as obesity and its related metabolic disorders. In Mammals, energy balance is homeostatically controlled through hormonal and neuroendocrine systems which cooperation is based on cross-talk between central and peripheral signals. The hypothalamus as well as peripheral hormones among which adipokines from adipose tissue and thyroid hormones play a crucial role in energy homeostasis. Unraveling the physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms through which hormonal and neuroendocrine systems regulate energy balance has been a long-standing challenge in biology and is now more necessary when considering the world-wide increasing prevalence of obesity. Indeed, recognizing and understanding the biochemical and nutrient signaling pathways contributing to the nervous and endocrine integration of physiological mechanisms involved in the normal and/or abnormal regulation of energy balance is fundamental also to the development of new, effective, and targeted treatments for obesity. Recent studies have highlighted the role of hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin-expressing neurons in the regulation of energy homeostasis by controlling energy expenditure and food intake. This is accomplished through a precise balance of production and degradation of a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, an anorexigenic neuropeptide which is degraded to an inactive form unable to inhibit food intake by the key enzyme prolyl carboxypeptidase (PRCP), thus suggesting that pharmacologic approaches targeting PRCP may provide a novel and effective option for the management of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders. Indeed, efforts have been made to generate potent, brain-penetrant PRCP inhibitors. Weight loss due to negative energy balance is a goal for obese subjects not always reachable by dietary caloric restriction or increased physical activity. Lipid-lowering therapies have been suggested to have potential benefits, however, the establishment of comprehensive therapeutic strategies is still awaited. Recently, it has been reported that thyroid hormone (TH)- derivatives such as 3,5-diiodothyronine and 3-iodothyronamine possess interesting biological activities, opening new perspectives in thyroid physiology and TH derivatives therapeutic usage. Moreover, several studies, focusing on the interaction between thyroid hormone (TH), the autonomic nervous system and the liver, revealed an important role for the hypothalamus in the differential effects of TH on autonomic outflow to peripheral organs controlling energy balance. This Research Topic aims to give a comprehensive and integrate view of the factors involved in the endocrine and neuroendocrine signaling in energy balance regulation to highlight their involvement into physiological processes and regulatory systems as well as their perturbation during pathological processes.

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