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24-01-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Hormone use peri- and postmenopause may moderate depression, inflammation


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Study findings suggest that the use of oral contraceptives or hormone therapy may have a moderating effect on the association depression and inflammation in peri- and postmenopausal women.

Current research suggests than an association between low-grade inflammation and depression exists, with epidemiologic studies showing an association between C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and unipolar depression in men.

To investigate this association in women, Timo Liukkonen (University of Oulu, Finland) and co-authors measured high-sensitivity (hs)-CRP levels in 512 women who were also assessed for depressive symptoms using the Beck’s Depression Inventory-21 (BDI-21).

Depressive symptoms were present in 12.6, 17.8, and 23.2 percent of pre- (aged 33-41 years), peri- (aged 44-51 years), and postmenopausal (aged 54-56 years) women, respectively. Median hs-CRP levels were 0.60, 1.04, and 1.3 mg/l, respectively.

The team found a positive correlation between hs-CRP levels and depressive symptoms in perimenopausal women not using exogenous hormones. Furthermore, after pooling peri- and postmenopausal women not using exogenous hormones together (n = 302), multivariate analysis revealed a significant interaction between hs-CRP levels and exogenous hormone use on BDI-21 score.

Conversely, no significant correlations were found in premenopausal women, or in peri- and postmenopausal women using exogenous hormones.

The authors conclude that the study “could bring new considerations to the development of prospective follow-up studies concerning the moderating effect of female hormones on the association between depression and inflammation.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Ingrid Grasmo