A Longitudinal Investigation of the Endocrine and Neurobiologic Events Accompanying Puberty

  • STATUS
    Recruiting
  • participants needed
    370
  • sponsor
    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Updated on 15 October 2021
Accepts healthy volunteers

Summary

Despite the clear importance of adolescence in the emergence of a number of disease states and processes, there is surprisingly little known about how the endocrine and metabolic events accompanying puberty in humans impact normal developmental neurobiology. Epidemiologic studies have identified sexual dimorphisms in the prevalence of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. Many of these sex differences emerge during or shortly after puberty and are maintained until the 5th-6th decade of life. For example, the two-fold greater risk of unipolar depression in women compared with men does not appear until adolescence, and prior to puberty girls are not at increased risk relative to boys. Puberty is a structured, transitional process that can be influenced by both nutritional factors and environmental stressors; nonetheless, the variability in the timing and duration of puberty is largely determined by oligogenic inheritance. Basic neuroscience research has demonstrated that hormonal events accompanying puberty impact on many of the physiologic systems involved in the regulation of brain function (e.g., the appearance of new neurons in a brain-region specific pattern, neuronal remodeling, and the pruning of cortical connectivity). Additionally, not only does stress during puberty increase the risk of disturbances in affective adaptation during adulthood, but the events accompanying puberty modify stress responsivity (e.g., alterations in the duration and peak response of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis hormones to stressors). Moreover, animal work has demonstrated that neural connectivity differs in a brain regional specific manner according to the stage of puberty (i.e., early versus late). In humans, puberty also occurs in stages, and although the endocrinology of puberty, surprisingly, has not been fully characterized with longitudinal data, studies have documented that the physical changes measured by Tanner stages I to V are accompanied by progressive increases in the secretions of both gonadal and adrenal steroids. Nonetheless, there remains considerable variability in the timing and duration of this otherwise highly structured reproductive transition.

We propose to perform a longitudinal, naturalistic study examining changes in brain structure and function, behavior, and stress responsivity in boys and girls across the pubertal transition. Because the pubertal transition is defined by a complex series of physiologic events that emerge sequentially over several years and involve changes in multiple endocrine and growth systems, and because there is also considerable variability in the timing of these events reflecting the influence of both genetic and environmental factors, puberty cannot by delineated by age of the participants as has been done in most imaging and other neurobiological studies of adolescence. The present study will formally bridge this gap by defining pubertal events per se in participants.

Participants will include healthy boys and girls whose pubertal status will be assessed, and in whom endocrine, metabolic, and brain imaging measures will be evaluated at eight - ten month intervals from age eight years (pre-puberty) until age 17 years (post-puberty). Reproductive endocrine, metabolic, and physical measures will be employed to characterize the stage and duration of pubertal development. Outcome measures will be derived via multimodal neuroimaging techniques, cognitive/behavioral assessments, metabolic measurements, and evaluations of HPA axis function. Additionally, the impact of genetic variation on the developmental trajectory of these parameters (both reproductive and CNS) will be determined.

This cross-institute proposal will employ a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the effects on CNS function of the process of puberty in both boys and girls. This work will not only serve to inform research on the mechanisms by which sexual dimorphisms in neuropsychiatric disorders develop, it will also have important implications for the prevention and treatment of these disorders.

Description

Despite the clear importance of adolescence in the emergence of a number of disease states and processes, there is surprisingly little known about how the endocrine and metabolic events accompanying puberty in humans impact normal developmental neurobiology. Epidemiologic studies have identified sexual dimorphisms in the prevalence of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. Many of these sex differences emerge during or shortly after puberty and are maintained until the 5th-6th decade of life. For example, the two-fold greater risk of unipolar depression in women compared with men does not appear until adolescence, and prior to puberty girls are not at increased risk relative to boys. Puberty is a structured, transitional process that can be influenced by both nutritional factors and environmental stressors; nonetheless, the variability in the timing and duration of puberty is largely determined by oligogenic inheritance. Basic neuroscience research has demonstrated that hormonal events accompanying puberty impact on many of the physiologic systems involved in the regulation of brain function (e.g., the appearance of new neurons in a brain-region specific pattern, neuronal remodeling, and the pruning of cortical connectivity). Additionally, not only does stress during puberty increase the risk of disturbances in affective adaptation during adulthood, but the events accompanying puberty modify stress responsivity (e.g., alterations in the duration and peak response of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal [HPA] axis hormones to stressors). Moreover, animal work has demonstrated that neural connectivity differs in a brain regional specific manner according to the stage of puberty (i.e., early versus late). In humans, puberty also occurs in stages, and although the endocrinology of puberty, surprisingly, has not been fully characterized with longitudinal data, studies have documented that the physical changes measured by Tanner stages I to V are accompanied by progressive increases in the secretions of both gonadal and adrenal steroids. Nonetheless, there remains considerable variability in the timing and duration of this otherwise highly structured reproductive transition.

We propose to perform a longitudinal, naturalistic study examining changes in brain structure and function, behavior, and stress responsivity in boys and girls across the pubertal transition. Because the pubertal transition is defined by a complex series of physiologic events that emerge sequentially over several years and involve changes in multiple endocrine and growth systems, and because there is also considerable variability in the timing of these events reflecting the influence of both genetic and environmental factors, puberty cannot by delineated by age of the participants as has been done in most imaging and other neurobiological studies of adolescence. The present study will formally bridge this gap by defining pubertal events per se in participants.

Participants will include healthy boys and girls whose pubertal status will be assessed, and in whom endocrine, metabolic, and brain imaging measures will be evaluated at eight - ten month intervals from age eight years (pre-puberty) until age 17 years (post-puberty). We will screen children in the clinic at age seven however will delay their first regular study visit until they are eight years old. Reproductive endocrine, metabolic, and physical measures will be employed to characterize the stage and duration of pubertal development. Outcome measures will be derived via multimodal neuroimaging techniques, cognitive/behavioral assessments, metabolic measurements, and evaluations of HPA axis function. Additionally, the impact of genetic variation on the developmental trajectory of these parameters (both reproductive and CNS) will be determined.

This cross-institute proposal will employ a multidisciplinary approach to evaluating the effects on CNS function of the process of puberty in both boys and girls. This work will not only serve to inform research on the mechanisms by which sexual dimorphisms in neuropsychiatric disorders develop, it will also have important implications for the prevention and treatment of these disorders.

Details
Condition Brain Diseases, Brain, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Developmental Biology, Adolescent Developement, functional mri, functional magnetic resonance imaging, mri functional
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT01434368
SponsorNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Last Modified on15 October 2021

Eligibility

Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Ages of 25 to 35 years at the time of enrollment
Each subject must have a level of understanding sufficient to agree to all required tests and examinations and sign an informed consent document
No use of psychotropic substances in the last 3 months
No psychiatric or severe chronic medical illness at the time of the study, and by history

Exclusion Criteria

Presence of impaired hearing
Pregnant or currently breast feeding. (a urine pregnancy test will be performed prior to MRI procedures in women)
Presence of a history head trauma with loss of consciousness in the last year or any evidence of functional impairment due to and persisting after head trauma
Previous eye surgery with a prosthetic implant
Participants with tattoos will be excluded if the tattoos are in a location on the body (eyes, lips, etc.) that could interfere with fMRI scans or contain a heavy metal content
Presence of any non-organic implant or any other device such as: cardiac pacemaker, insulin infusion pump, implanted drug infusion device, cochlear, otologic, or ear implant, transdermal medication patch (Nitro), any metallic implants or objects, body piercing(s), bone/joint pin, screw, nail, plate, wire sutures or surgical staples, shunt
Presence of cerebral or other aneurysm clips
Presence of shrapnel or other metal imbedded in the body (such as from war wounds or accidents)
Previous employment in metal fields or with machines that may have left any metallic fragments in or near the eyes
History of a severe accident in the past that may possibly have left metal in the body
Psychological contraindications for MRI (e.g., suffer from claustrophobia)
Less than an 8th grade education or an IQ below 70 as determined by the scores on Test of Irregular Word Reading Efficiency [TIWRE]
NIMH employees and staff and their immediate family members will be excluded from the study per NIMH policy
INCLUSION/EXCLUSION CRITERIA - SAMPLE 5
Inclusion and exclusion criteria for sample 5 will be identical as those for
samples 1 and 2 (i.e., children will either be age 8-9 or between the ages of
and 13) with the exception that children with a tempo of growth that is
considered abnormal as demonstrated by skeletal age greater than two standard
deviations in advance of their chronologic age according to the Greulich and
Pyle Radiographic Atlas will be included. These children will be matched for
age, Tanner stage, race, ethnicity, and BMI with children currently enrolled
in the longitudinal study
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact

site

0/250

Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider

Loading...

Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 

 • 

Private

Reply by • Private
Loading...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.
Loading...

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note