MSU researchers find sex disparity in depression

Women are more susceptible to depression

By Miriam Marini - Web Producer

Researchers noted that male brain activity was significantly lower than females' during stressful or emotional situations, due to their levels of testosterone. (WDIV)

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Researchers from Michigan State University found that women's susceptibility to depression doubles men's. To find this, they first had to unravel mice brains.

In the study, published in neurosciences journal Biological Psychiatry, researchers found a single testosterone-controlled brain circuit in mice that activates during stressful situations. 

"What makes these findings stand out is not only identifying this new circuit, but also observing and confirming how it drives different behaviors in males and females," said A.J. Robison, MSU physiologist and the lead author of the study, in MSUToday.

Researchers noted that male brain activity was significantly lower than females' during stressful or emotional situations, due to their levels of testosterone. Further, when the testosterone was removed, male mice began to experience depression. 

"Even with our best antidepressants, such as Prozac, we don't know exactly how they work," Robison said. "This is the first time we've found a circuit that drives this sexually different behavior; other scientists can now explore how this could translate to identifying new therapeutic targets in humans."

For more information on the study's findings, read the study in full

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