Highlights

  • Cerebellar volumes correlate inversely with neurotic personality traits in adolescents and young adults.
  • In males, higher endogenous testosterone levels is associated with lower scores on neurotic personality traits and larger cerebellar gray matter volumes.
  • Testosterone significantly mediates the relation between cerebellar gray matter and measures of neuroticism.

Abstract

Previous research has found an association between a smaller cerebellar volume and higher levels of neuroticism. The steroid hormone testosterone reduces stress responses and the susceptibility to negative mood. Together with in vitro studies showing a positive effect of testosterone on cerebellar gray matter volumes, we set out to explore the role of testosterone in the relation between cerebellar gray matter and neuroticism. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired, and indices of neurotic personality traits were assessed by administering the depression and anxiety scale of the revised NEO personality inventory and Gray’s behavioural avoidance in one hundred and forty-nine healthy volunteers between 12 and 27 years of age. Results demonstrated an inverse relation between total brain corrected cerebellar volumes and neurotic personality traits in adolescents and young adults. In males, higher endogenous testosterone levels were associated with lower scores on neurotic personality traits and larger cerebellar gray matter volumes. No such relations were observed in the female participants. Analyses showed that testosterone significantly mediated the relation between male cerebellar gray matter and measures of neuroticism. Our findings on the interrelations between endogenous testosterone, neuroticism and cerebellar morphology provide a cerebellum-oriented framework for the susceptibility to experience negative emotions and mood in adolescence and early adulthood.

Article Source: http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(16)30688-6/abstract?cc=y=

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