Sex Differences in Depression-Like Behavior Post Myocardial Infarction

Nearly one-fifth of heart failure patients develop depression or depression-like symptoms and are therefore at greater risk for additional cardiac events and mortality. Inflammation in the hypothalamus has been shown to play a role in heart failure progression and depression. Is there also a link between the presence, or absence, of estrogens in the brain and heart failure comorbid with depression? In this special extended-length podcast, Associate Editor Kaushik Patel (University of Nebraska Medical Center) interviews senior author Frans H.H. Leenen (University of Ottawa Heart Institute) and content expert Adam Case (University of Nebraska Medical Center). Past clinical studies have clearly shown that post-menopausal women with heart failure are at higher risk for developing depression compared to premenopausal women. Disappointed with previous animal studies performed only in male rats, Leenen and co-authors embarked on designing new animal studies to specifically address sex differences. Najjar et al reported that young female rats were protected from depression by the presence of estrogens, compared to both male rats and post-menopausal female rats. Listen now as our experts discuss these novel studies as well as the interplay of peripheral inflammation, central inflammation, and cardiac sympathetic afferent pathways in the development of depression with heart failure.


Fatimah Najjar, Monir Ahmad, Diane Lagace, and Frans H.H. Leenen Sex Differences in Depression-Like Behavior and Neuroinflammation in Rats Post MI: Role of Estrogens Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published July 27, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00615.2017

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