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A population based twin-study of major depression in women: The impact of varying definitions of illnesses.Archives of General Psychiatry, 49, 257-266

Department of Psychiatry, Medical College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0710.
Archives of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.75). 05/1992; 49(4):257-66. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820040009001
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ABSTRACT Although depression aggregates in families, the degree to which this aggregation results from genetic vs environmental factors remains uncertain. We examined this question in 1033 female-female twin pairs from a population-based registry. Both members of each twin pair were "blindly" assessed by structured psychiatric interview. Nine commonly used definitions of major depression, which produced life-time prevalence rates ranging from 12% to 33%, were examined. For all definitions, the results of model fitting to twin correlations suggested that the liability to depression results from genetic factors and environmental experiences unique to the individual. For seven of the definitions, the estimated heritability of liability was similar, ranging from 33% to 45%. For the two definitions that included only primary cases of depression, the heritability was lower (21% to 24%). The results document that in women (1) genetic factors play a substantial, but not overwhelming, role in the cause of depression; (2) the tendency for depression to aggregate in families results largely from shared genetic and not from shared environmental factors; (3) except for definitions that exclude secondary cases, the magnitude of genetic influence is similar in broadly and narrowly defined forms of major depression; and (4) most environmental experiences of causative importance for depression are those not shared by members of an adult twin pair.

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    • "While the relative risk of depression changes throughout the female reproductive life cycle, the windows of increased vulnerability for depression occur during periods of significant hormonal fluctuations (Lokuge et al. 2011). One of the most vulnerable periods for a woman to become depressed is after childbirth (Kendler et al. 1992). Postpartum depression (PPD) affects approximately 13% of women and has a negative impact on the lives of the mother and infant. "
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    ABSTRACT: Postpartum depression (PPD) affects approximately 13% of women and has a negative impact on mother and infant, hence reliable biological tests for early detection of PPD are essential. We aimed to identify robust predictive biomarkers for PPD using peripheral blood gene expression profiles in a hypothesis-free genome-wide study in a high-risk, longitudinal cohort. Method We performed a genome-wide association study in a longitudinal discovery cohort comprising 62 women with psychopathology. Gene expression and hormones were measured in the first and third pregnancy trimesters and early postpartum (201 samples). The replication cohort comprised 24 women with third pregnancy trimester gene expression measures. Gene expression was measured on Illumina-Human HT12 v4 microarrays. Plasma estradiol and estriol were measured. Statistical analysis was performed in R. We identified 116 transcripts differentially expressed between the PPD and euthymic women during the third trimester that allowed prediction of PPD with an accuracy of 88% in both discovery and replication cohorts. Within these transcripts, significant enrichment of transcripts implicated that estrogen signaling was observed and such enrichment was also evident when analysing published gene expression data predicting PPD from a non-risk cohort. While plasma estrogen levels were not different across groups, women with PPD displayed an increased sensitivity to estrogen signaling, confirming the previously proposed hypothesis of increased sex-steroid sensitivity as a susceptibility factor for PPD. These results suggest that PPD can be robustly predicted in currently euthymic women as early as the third trimester and these findings have implications for predictive testing of high-risk women and prevention and treatment for PPD.
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    • "As noted earlier, these interviews were administered by telephone. Telephone administration is now widely accepted in clinical reappraisal studies based on evidence of comparable validity to inperson administration (Kendler et al., 1992; Rohde et al., 1997; Sobin et al., 1993). A great advantage of telephone administration is that a centralized and closely supervised clinical interview staff can carry out the interviews without the geographic restrictions required for face-to-face clinical assessment. "
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    • "We assumed a liability-threshold model. The strengths and limitations of this model have been outlined previously (Kendler et al. 1992a; Neale and Maes 2004). In factor analysis, one seeks to explain the covariation between a number of variables, e.g. "
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