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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 8;89:48-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.08.026. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

What do we know about sex differences in depression: A review of animal models and potential mechanisms.

Author information

1
The National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders & Beijing Key Laboratory of Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100088, China.
2
The National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders & Beijing Key Laboratory of Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100088, China. Electronic address: gangwangdoc@gmail.com.
3
The National Clinical Research Center for Mental Disorders & Beijing Key Laboratory of Mental Disorders, Beijing Anding Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100088, China; Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100012, China; Center for Hormone Advanced Science and Education, Roskamp Institute, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA. Electronic address: rli@roskampinstitute.org.

Abstract

Clinical studies have shown that women are more susceptible to depression than men. Sex differences in depression have been associated with social, cultural, as well as biological factors. In spite of extensive preclinical studies in animal models for depression that have been used for understanding the mechanisms of the disease as well as for new drug development, a substantive lack of attention on sex-specific phenotypes in depression might mask the effect of sex on the outcome. In this review article, we summarize findings on the influence of sex on behavior in the most commonly used animal models for depression. We also discuss the potential underlying mechanisms of such sex-dependent variation in the phenotype, particularly in the neuroendocrine system.

KEYWORDS:

Animal models; Depression; Estrogen; Sex differences; Sex hormones

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