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December 2000

Gonadal Hormones, Reproductive Age, and Women With Depression

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57(12):1163-1164. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.57.12.1163

A 2-FOLD higher risk for depression among women compared with men has been consistently documented worldwide.15 The epidemiological findings that the sex differences are manifested during reproductive age and actually disappear during the menopausal stage4 suggest an important involvement of reproduction-related processes, especially the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis in the pathobiology of depression in women. The focus of the search for the culprit has been on peripheral levels of the gonadal hormones—especially estrogen. A more comprehensive approach includes plasma levels of the pituitary hormones follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone and their pulsatility, reflecting the hypothalamus' effect on the system and indicating the system's integrity.

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