Sex Differences in the Effects of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Analogue Treatment on Adolescents’ Limbic System

  • Mathilde Kennis Maastricht University
Keywords: GnRHa, gender, puberty, limbic system, animal model


Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Analogues (GnRHa) are used in conditions such as Gender Dysphoria and precocious puberty to suppress puberty in children or adolescents. This essay poses the question whether this blocking of sex hormones affects brain development of regions of the limbic system. It is hypothesized that the influence of GnRHa’s on limbic system development shows differences between the sexes. While animal research has indeed indicated sex differences in the effect of puberty suppression on hippocampus and amygdala gene expression and amygdala volume, direct evidence in human subjects is lacking. It is suggested that well controlled studies in humans on the effects of GnRHa’s on brain development could provide valuable insights into the origin of sex differences in the brain, as well as contribute to better psychological treatment of individuals who receive GnRHa’s.


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