Stress, gender and psychopathology: a multi-level analysis

Sjoukje Daouia Kuipers

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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It seems that no matter where we look, stress exerts strong effects on the physiology and psychophysiology of an organism. Although beneficial in the short run it is not surprising that long term stress can disturb the natural equilibrium state of an animal, given it’ s effects on the extended range of pararameters (systemic, endocrinological, cellular, molecular. The most interesting observation however was that females consistently showed an opposite or different effect than males. With regard to the question of which sex is more or less susceptible to stress, it appears this answer is thus less clear-cut than we would hope. While stress seems to affect transcriptional activity and cellular signal transduction in males, females appear more vulnerable to the negative stress effects on cell birth and/or survival. The manner in which HPA axis activity is affected in males and females is a testimony to this gender-differential regulation, since both sexes seem to indicate prolonged HPA axis overactivity, albeit in a sex-specific manner. The question we should therefore focus on is not which sex is more vulnerable, but how do the sexes differ in their vulnerabilities. It is more insight into this matter that may ultimately lead to way to new and improved drug development that considers sex specific neural circuits implicated in stress response regulation. Perhaps one day we can even speak of customized drug design, targeted to meet gender specific disturbances.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Print ISBNs9036720117
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Proefschriften (vorm)
  • Sekseverschillen
  • Psychopathologie
  • Stress
  • 44.91

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