Juntendo Medical Journal
Online ISSN : 2188-2126
Print ISSN : 2187-9737
ISSN-L : 2187-9737
Original Articles
Gender Differences in the Effects of Cortisol and Dehydroepiandrosterone on Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Patients with Major Depression
HIROKO SHUKUZAWAHAJIME BABAHITOSHI MAESHIMATAKAHISA SHIMANOMEGUMI INOUETAKAO SAIDASHUNTARO NATSUMETOSHIHITO SUZUKI
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JOURNALS OPEN ACCESS

2020 Volume 66 Issue 5 Pages 424-430

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Abstract

 Levels of serum brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are lower in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The adrenal cortex secretes the corticosteroids cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) under stress condition, and serum levels of DHEA are gender-dependent. Although BDNF expression is associated with these corticosteroids, the effect of gender on this association is not clear. To examine gender differences in the relationship between BDNF and corticosteroids in patients with MDD, we measured serum levels of cortisol, DHEA-sulfate (DHEA-S) and BDNF in men and women with depression. We recruited 189 inpatients with MDD (76 men and 113 women) from Juntendo Koshigaya Hospital. Serum cortisol, DHEA-S and BDNF levels were measured on the morning after admission. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to assess the effects of cortisol and DHEA-S on BDNF. After controlling for age, we found that serum BDNF levels were significantly influenced by the DHEA-S/cortisol ratio (p=0.010) in female participants. However, this association was absent in male participants. These results suggest gender differences exist in the effects of corticosteroids on BDNF. In female participants, the balance between neurotoxicity induced by cortisol and neuroprotection associated with DHEA-S may influence the pathology and symptoms of depression via BDNF.

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© 2020 The Juntendo Medical Society. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original source is properly credited.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons [Attribution 4.0 International] license.
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