Interactions of Hormones & Neurotransmitters
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
PACER Integrative Behavioral Health
Objectives
~ Review parts of the brain
~ Get a general understanding of the most important hormones and neurotransmitters

Serotonin
~ Serotonin is a neurotransmitter with seven families (5-HT1–5-HT7) and approximately 15 receptor subtypes.
~ Mood
~ Energy and glutamate release
~ Respiration
~ Blood pressure
~ Appetite
~ Pain perception
~ Bone density
~ Memory
~ Learning and cognition
~ Motivation and dopamine release
~ Acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine release in the frontal cortex
~ GI motility

Serotonin
~ Serotonin is among the many neurotransmitters that participate in the regulation of cortisol, prolactin and growth hormone secretion
~ Low dopamine low prolactin
~ Prolactin regulates behavior, the immune system, metabolism, reproductive systems
~ Prolactin decreases estrogen and testosterone
~ Prolactin is high during times of stress

Norepinephrine
~ Produced from Phenylalanine–Tyrosine–L-dopa–Dopamine–Epinephrine–Norepinephrine
~ Regulates
~ Circadian rhythms
~ Attention and focus
~ Heart rate and blood pressure regulation
~ Regulates release of glucose and fatty acids into the blood
~ Mood (too much can cause panic)
~ Modulates immune response. Suppress neuroinflammation when released in the brain.
~ Up to 70% of norepinephrine projecting cells are lost in Alzheimer’s Disease

Acetylcholine
~ Muscle control
~ Arousal
~ Attention
~ Memory
~ Motivation

Glutamate
~ Main excitatory neurotransmitter but can excite cells to their death “excitotoxicity”
~ Testosterone was shown to significantly increase the toxicity of glutamate concentration, whereas estradiol significantly attenuated the toxicity

GABA
~ GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in adults
~ Created from glutamate
~ GABA is considered the major excitatory neurotransmitter in many regions of the brain before the brain matures
~ Assists in neurogeneration
~ Assists in reducing anxiety and fear
~ Produced at relatively high levels in the insulin-producing β-cells of the pancreas
~ Suppresses inflammation
~ Regulates muscle contraction

Endorphins
~ Fear and emotional learning are modulated by endogenous opioids
~ Endogenously released opioids directly regulate neuronal excitability
~ Modulate HPA-Axis responses Chronic stress causes changes in specific components of the endogenous opioid system, including μ-opioid receptors.
~ Immune cells have been shown to secrete endogenous opioid peptides, which then bind to peripheral opioid receptors to relieve inflammatory and neuropathic pain
~ Chronic overeating resulting in opioid release could cause opioid resistance and promote overeating and obesity to regulate homeostasis
~ Feeding consistently triggers cerebral opioid release even in the absence of subjective pleasure

Dopamine
~ Motivation
~ Executive function
~ Mood
~ Movement (erectile dysfunction, restless legs, Parkinson’s disease)
~ Energy and Wakefulness (people with Parkinson’s or on antipsychotics are often sleepy)
~ Learning, attention & memory (prefrontal cortex)
~ Regulates insulin
~ Immune system
~ Reduces gastrointestinal motility and protects intestinal mucosa
~ Regulates the flow of information from other areas of the brain (problem solving) (Frontal lobe and thalamus)
~ L-Tyrosine produces dopamine, adrenaline, thyroid hormones

Endocannabinoids
~ Endocannabinoids maintain emotional, physiological and cognitive stability
• Appetite, digestion, metabolism
• Chronic pain inflammation and other immune system responses
• Mood and stress response
• Learning and memory
• Motor control
• Sleep
• Cardiovascular and reproductive system function
• Bone remodeling and growth
• Skin and nerve function
~ CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and GABA, glutamate, dopamine and serotonin.

Summary
~ Neurotransmitters and hormones exist in a very delicate balance.
~ Changing one often results in a cascade of other changes
~ Mood and cognitive symptoms may be caused by problems with a variety of different neurotransmitters or hormones

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