February 1, 2023

Severe Depression Affects Women and Men Differently – Scientists May Have Finally Discovered Why

A team of Université Laval researchers might have discovered why serious anxiety affects males and females in a different way, according to a research study published on January 10, 2022, in Nature Communications. The scientists analyzed the brains of people with depression at the time of death and discovered changes located in various parts of the brain for each sex. They also identified a prospective anxiety biomarker in females.
” Depression is really various between men and women,” said lead author Caroline Ménard, professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval and scientist at the CERVO Brain Research Centre. “In women, the disease is twice as common, the signs are various, and the action to antidepressants is not the like in males. Our objective was to learn why.”

The scientists analyzed the brains of individuals with depression at the time of death and found changes located in various parts of the brain for each sex.” Depression is very different in between females and men,” stated lead author Caroline Ménard, professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval and researcher at the CERVO Brain Research Centre. Their findings were the very same when they analyzed the brains of women suffering from anxiety at the time of their death. “Our group is the very first to show the value of neurovascular health in anxiety and to recommend soluble E-selectin as a depression biomarker.

In a previous study, Caroline Ménards group revealed that lengthened social tension in male mice deteriorated the blood-brain barrier separating the brain from peripheral blood circulation. These changes were due to the loss of a protein called claudin-5 and were apparent in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain associated with reward and the control of emotions. The researchers discovered the very same thing in the brains of men experiencing depression at the time of their death.
When Professor Ménard and her team repeated the experiment in female mice, they discovered that the brain barrier alterations brought on by claudin-5 loss lay in the prefrontal cortex. When they examined the brains of women suffering from depression at the time of their death, their findings were the very same. In males, however, the blood-brain barrier of the prefrontal cortex was not impacted.
” The prefrontal cortex is involved in mood policy, but also in anxiety and self-perception,” explained Professor Ménard.” “In chronically stressed male mice and in males with anxiety, this part of the brain was unchanged. These findings recommend that persistent stress changes the brain barrier in a different way according to gender.”
As they examined even more, the scientists discovered a blood marker connected to brain barrier health. The marker, soluble E-selectin, is an inflammatory particle found at higher concentrations in the blood of stressed out female mice. It is likewise present in blood samples of women with anxiety, but not in men.
” Today, anxiety is still diagnosed through surveys,” stated Ménard. “Our group is the very first to show the importance of neurovascular health in depression and to recommend soluble E-selectin as a depression biomarker. It could possibly be utilized to screen for and diagnose anxiety. It might likewise be utilized to determine the efficacy of existing treatments or treatments in development. Initially, large-cohort scientific research studies will require to be conducted to validate the biomarkers reliability. These breakthroughs would not have been possible without the households and people who contribute to the Douglas Bell Canada Brain Bank and the Signature Bank in Montréal.”
Reference: “Blood-brain and vascular barrier-related modifications underlie tension reactions and durability in female mice and depression in human tissue” by Laurence Dion-Albert, Alice Cadoret, Ellen Doney, Fernanda Neutzling Kaufmann, Katarzyna A. Dudek, Beatrice Daigle, Lyonna F. Parise, Flurin Cathomas, Nalia Samba, Natalie Hudson, Manon Lebel, Signature Consortium, Matthew Campbell, Gustavo Turecki, Naguib Mechawar and Caroline Menard, 10 January 2022, Nature Communications.DOI: 10.1038/ s41467-021-27604-x.
In addition to Caroline Ménard, the coauthors of the post released in Nature Communications are Laurence Dion-Albert, Alice Cadoret, Ellen Doney, Fernanda Neutzling Kaufmann, Katarzyna A. Dudek, Béatrice Daigle, and Manon Lebel (Université Laval and CERVO Brain Research Centre); Lyonna F. Parise and Flurin Cathomas (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai); Nalia Samba (Sorbonne); Natalie Hudson and Matthew Campbell (Trinity College Dublin); Gustavo Turecki et Naguib Mechawar (McGill University); Signature Consortium at Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal.

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