Prednisone Effects on Neurochemistry and Behavior: Preliminary Findings

Owen M. Wolkowitz, David Rubinow, Allen R. Doran, Alan Breier, Wade H. Berrettini, Mitchel A. Kling, David Pickar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


To evaluate the neurochemical, neuroendocrine, and behavioral effects of exogenous corticosteroids in humans, we administered prednisone (80 mg/d orally for 5 days) in a double-blind manner to 12 medically healthy volunteers. Behavioral measures were assessed before, during, and after prednisone administration in all 12 subjects, and cerebrospinal fluid biochemistry was assessed before and during prednisone administration in 9 of the subjects. Prednisone administration was associated with decreases in cerebrospinal fluid levels of corticotropin, norepinephrine, β-endorphin, β-lipotropin, and somatostatinlike immunoreactivity. No significant changes were noted in cerebrospinal fluid levels of α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, corticotropinreleasing hormone, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol, homevanillic acid, or 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. No consistent or significant group mean changes were observed in structured behavioral ratings, although 9 (75%) of the volunteers studied reported mild behavioral changes while receiving prednisone. Correlations between the neurochemical and behavioral changes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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