Study finds different genes linked to depression in males and females

147 genes significantly associated with broad depression

Depression is a complex psychological disorder that is twice as common in females than in males. It is also established that several genetic variants are associated with an increased risk of developing depression.

In relation, the new research identified 11 areas of DNA associated with depression in females and only one area in males. Plus, the study found 147 genes associated with depression, of which 64 were associated with depression in female subjects and 53 in males.

It was also revealed that depression was significantly associated with metabolic disorders and diseases in females, highlighting the importance of considering this aspect when treating women with depression. However, although the biological processes underlying depression are similar between males and females, the study found that different genes were involved in each sex.

“This is the first study to describe sex-specific genetic variants associated with depression, which is a very prevalent disease in both males and females. These findings are important to inform the development of specific therapies that will benefit both men and women while accounting for their differences,” says Dr. Patricia Pelufo Silveira, lead author of the study and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.

“In the clinic, the presentation of depression is very different for men and women, as well as their response to treatment, but we have very little understanding of why this happens at the moment.”

These findings are specifically promising for developing sex-specific treatments for depression in the future.

The study was published in Molecular Psychology.

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