Women are more prone to depression than men, and this may be due to genetic factors, according to a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In the January issue of the journal, researchers reported that incidence of genetic depression is higher in women than in men, where it is approximately 29%.
"Our work, together with colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, represents the largest epidemiological study of depression in twins done to date. In addition, it broadly replicates what has been shown by our earlier work using the Virginia Twin Registry. In particular, we have shown that depression is a moderately heritable disorder, suggesting that genetic factors are important, but by no means overwhelming," said Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and human genetics in VCU's School of Medicine and lead author on the study.
Kendler said there may be genes that alter the risk for depression in a woman's response to cyclic sex hormones, particularly in the postpartum period. Such genes would impact a woman's risk for major depression, but would not be active in men because men lack the relevant hormonal milieu.