Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Higher anxiety, depression among women may have basis in cell signals

Date:
June 16, 2010
Source:
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Summary:
There may be a biological reason why depression and other stress-related psychiatric disorders are more common among women compared to men. Studying stress signaling systems in rat brains, neuroscience researchers found that females are more sensitive to low levels of an important stress hormone and less able to adapt to high levels than males.

Researchers have found that females are more sensitive to low levels of an important stress hormone and less able to adapt to high levels than males.
Credit: iStockphoto/Aldo Murillo

There may be a biological reason why depression and other stress-related psychiatric disorders are more common among women compared to men. Studying stress signaling systems in animal brains, neuroscience researchers found that females are more sensitive to low levels of an important stress hormone and less able to adapt to high levels than males.

Related Articles


"This is the first evidence for sex differences in how neurotransmitter receptors traffic signals," said study leader Rita J. Valentino, Ph.D., a behavioral neuroscientist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Although more research is certainly necessary to determine whether this translates to humans, this may help to explain why women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders."

The research appears online in Molecular Psychiatry. The study's first author is Debra A. Bangasser, Ph.D., a fellow in Valentino's laboratory.

It has long been recognized that women have a higher incidence of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other anxiety disorders, said Valentino, but underlying biological mechanisms for that difference have been unknown. Her research focuses on corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that organizes stress responses in mammals.

Analyzing the brains of rats that responded to a swim stress test, Valentino's team found that in female rats, neurons had receptors for CRF that bound more tightly to cell signaling proteins than in male rats, and thus were more responsive to CRF. Furthermore, after exposure to stress, male rats had an adaptive response, called internalization, in their brain cells. Their cells reduced the number of CRF receptors, and became less responsive to the hormone. In female rats this adaptation did not occur because a protein important for this internalization did not bind to the CRF receptor.

"This is an animal study, and we cannot say that the biological mechanism is the same in people," said Valentino, adding that other mechanisms play a role in human stress responses, including the actions of other hormones. However, she added, "researchers already know that CRF regulation is disrupted in stress-related psychiatric disorders, so this research may be relevant to the underlying human biology."

Furthermore, said Valentino, much of the previous research on stress disorders in animal models used only male rodents, so important sex differences may have gone undetected. "Pharmacology researchers investigating CRF antagonists as drug treatments for depression may need to take into account gender differences at the molecular level," she said.

The National Institutes of Health provided funding support for this study. Co-authors with Valentino and Bangasser were Andre Curtis, Ph.D., Thelma T. Bethea, Ioannis Parastatidis, M.D., and Harry Ischiropoulos, Ph.D., all of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; and Elisabeth J. Van Bockstaele, Ph.D., of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences of Thomas Jefferson University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D A Bangasser, A Curtis, B A S Reyes, T T Bethea, I Parastatidis, H Ischiropoulos, E J Van Bockstaele and R J Valentino. Sex differences in corticotropin-releasing factor receptor signaling and trafficking: potential role in female vulnerability to stress-related psychopathology. Molecular Psychiatry, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2010.66

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Higher anxiety, depression among women may have basis in cell signals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105239.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. (2010, June 16). Higher anxiety, depression among women may have basis in cell signals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105239.htm
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Higher anxiety, depression among women may have basis in cell signals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105239.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

85 Killed in Niger by Meningitis Since Start of Year

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) A meningitis outbreak in Niger has killed 85 people since the start of the year prompting authorities to close schools in the capital Niamey until Monday. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

C-Section Births a Trend in Brazil

AFP (Apr. 24, 2015) More than half of Brazil&apos;s babies are born via cesarean section, as mothers and doctors opt for a faster and less painful experience despite the health risks. Duration: 02:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Anti-Malaria Jab Hope

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 24, 2015) The world&apos;s first anti-malaria vaccine could get the go-ahead for use in Africa from October if approved by international regulators. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

3D Food Printing: The Meal of the Future?

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) Developers of 3D food printing hope the culinary technology will revolutionize the way we cook and eat. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins