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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.1-5 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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