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Preliminary evidence of acylated ghrelin association with depression severity in postmenopausal women

  • Naufel, Maria Fernanda1
  • Pedroso, Amanda Paula1
  • Oyama, Lila Missae1
  • Telles, Mônica Marques1
  • Hachul, Helena2, 2
  • Ribeiro, Eliane Beraldi1
  • 1 Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Rua Botucatu 862, Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP, 04023-062, Brazil , São Paulo (Brazil)
  • 2 Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil , São Paulo (Brazil)
Published Article
Scientific Reports
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Mar 05, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84431-2
Springer Nature


We have previously shown increased depression and anxiety scores in postmenopausal overweight women, when compared to overweight premenopausal women. The mechanisms responsible for these alterations are not understood. Although ghrelin involvement in mood modulation has been suggested, its role is still ambiguous and has not been evaluated in postmenopause. Here we investigated the association of ghrelin with depression and anxiety symptoms in postmenopausal women. Fifty-five postmenopausal women with depression symptoms, who were not in use of hormones or antidepressants, were included in the study. Depression symptoms were evaluated by Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and anxiety symptoms were evaluated by Beck’s Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Women were allocated into three groups, according to BDI classification of mild, moderate, or severe depression symptoms. Anthropometric, biochemical and hormonal parameters were analyzed. Total and acylated ghrelin levels were higher in the severe depression than in the mild depression group. Multivariate regression analyses showed positive associations of BDI scores with acylated ghrelin and BMI, and of PHQ-9 scores with acylated ghrelin and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). BAI scores associated positively with waist-to-hip ratio. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of an association between acylated ghrelin and the severity of depression symptoms in postmenopausal women. This association may reflect either a physiological response aimed at fighting against depression symptoms or a causal factor of this mental disorder.

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