DeSoto, M.C. (in press). Borderline Personality Disorder, gender and serotonin: Does estrogen play a role? In Martine Czerbskas (Ed.) Psychoneuroendocrinology Research Frontiers. Nova Science Publishers, Inc.: Hauppauge, NY.
The effect of estrogen on brain function and behavior has been well established in both humans and other animals. Although the changes in hormone levels that occur as part of the normal menstrual cycle in women influence neurochemistry, the changes themselves have not been systematically considered as variables of interest. As a redress, current literature is reviewed and it is proposed that the degree of natural estrogen flux is itself an individual difference variable worthy of study. An illustration of how such a model is possible is presented based on what is known about brain function focusing on speculation that serotonin receptors of subtype 1A could be a plausible vehicle for the effects of estrogen flux to occur. The literature regarding serotonin function and borderline personality disorder among women is reviewed and how the proposed model might account for various discrepancies in the research on borderline personality disorder and serotonin system reactivity is considered. As a whole, the theoretical model presented in which estrogen changes themselves can aggravate borderline personality disorder symptomology is shown to have preliminary support from several lines of research.