The Steroidogenesis Inhibitor Finasteride Reduces the Response to Both Stressful and Rewarding Stimuli

[W]e tested the effects of [finasteride (FIN)] in a battery of tests aimed at capturing complementary aspects of mood regulation and stress reactivity in rats. FIN reduced exploratory, incentive, prosocial, and risk-taking behavior; furthermore, it decreased stress coping, as revealed by increased immobility in the forced-swim test (FST). This last effect was also observed in female and orchiectomized male rats, suggesting that the mechanism of action of FIN does not primarily reflect changes in gonadal steroids. The effects of FIN on FST responses were associated with a dramatic decrease in corticotropin release hormone (CRH) mRNA and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels. These results suggest that FIN impairs stress reactivity and reduces behavioral activation and impulsive behavior by altering the function of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis.

Godar SC, Cadeddu R, Floris G, Mosher LJ, Mi Z, Jarmolowicz DP, Scheggi S, Walf AA, Koonce CJ, Frye CA, Muma NA, Bortolato M 2019 Nov 19;9(11). pii: E749. doi: [Biomolecules]