Scientists Determine Hormone Regulation Associated With Hypersexual Disorder

Sure enough, they managed to identify two regions of DNA that were different among those with hypersexual disorder. 

A brand new study out of the Uppsala University, in Sweden—involving researchers from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute Andrology/Sexual Medicine Group—appears to suggest that men and women with hypersexual disorder might have an oxytocin regulation issue.  And this, of course, suggests there we may be closer to developing a treatment for the condition. 

This new study involved 60 patients with hypersexual disorder and compared them against 33 healthy volunteers.  Form there, the researchers investigated 8,852 regions of DNA methylation that have been associated with nearby microRNAs in order to identify variations between them.  DNA methylation can influence gene expression as well as gene function; when DNA methylation alterations had been detected, they specifically investigated gene expression levels of the hypersexual-associated microRNA.  

Hypersexual disorder is a hormonal condition that results in an overactive sex drive.  It is generally recognized as a compulsive sexual behavior disorder and has been listed by the World Health Organization as an impulse-control disorder.  It is most often characterized by obsessive thoughts of sex as well as a compulsion to perform sexual acts and/or a loss of control; it can also involve sexual habits that carry potential problems or risks.  

Adrian Bostrom, from the Department of Neuroscience at Sweden’s Uppsala University, says, “We set out to investigate the epigenetic regulatory mechanisms behind hypersexual disorder so we could determine whether it has any hallmarks that make it distinct from order health issues.”

While data on the condition varies, officials believe this condition could affect up to 6 percent of the American adult population. Diagnosis for this condition can be controversial, unfortunately, because it often occurs in conjunction with other mental health problems. This suggests it might be an extension or a manifestation of another, pre-existing mental disorder.  We still know very little about the neurology behind the condition. 

The lead study author goes on to say, “To our knowledge, our study is the first to implicate dysregulated epigenetic mechanisms of both DNA metabolism and microRNA activity and the involvement of oxytocin in the brain among patients seeking treatment for hypersexuality.”

As such, more research is necessary to continue investigating the role that specific microRNA plays in oxytocin regulation and hypersexual disorder.