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Focus on Women's Mental Health

Low 24-Hour Adiponectin and High Nocturnal Leptin Concentrations in a Case-Control Study of Community-Dwelling Premenopausal Women With Major Depressive Disorder: The Premenopausal, Osteopenia/Osteoporosis, Women, Alendronate, Depression (POWER) Study

Giovanni Cizza, MD, PhD, MHSc; Vi T. Nguyen, MD; Farideh Eskandari, MD, MHSc; Zhigang Duan, MS; Elizabeth C. Wright, PhD; James C. Reynolds, MD; Rexford S. Ahima, MD, PhD; and Marc R. Blackman, MD, for the POWER Study Group

Published: May 18, 2010

Article Abstract

Objective: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with immune system dysfunction and disruption of multiple circadian systems. Adiponectin is an adipocytokine with anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic effects. Circulating concentrations are inversely related to adiposity and risks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes mellitus. Our goals were (1) to establish whether premenopausal women with MDD exhibit decreased plasma adiponectin concentrations and/or disruption of circadian adiponectin rhythmicity; (2) to assess whether there is a relationship between adiponectin and MDD; and (3) to explore the temporal relationships among adiponectin, leptin, corticotropin, and cortisol secretion.

Method: We conducted a case-control study of community-dwelling premenopausal women with DSM-IV MDD (n = 23) and age- and body mass index (BMI)-matched control subjects (n = 23). Main outcome measures were circulating concentrations of adiponectin, leptin, corticotropin, and cortisol measured hourly for 24 hours. Subjects were recruited from July 1, 2001, to February 28, 2003.

Results: Women with MDD had approximately 30% lower mean 24-hour concentration of adiponectin than did control subjects. Adiponectin concentration was inversely related to depression severity and total duration of disease, suggesting a causal link. In contrast, mean nocturnal leptin concentration was higher in the MDD versus control groups. Mean leptin concentration was inversely related to cortisol and adiponectin concentrations, both in subjects with depression and in control subjects. In cross-correlation analyses, the relationship between corticotropin and cortisol concentrations was stronger in women with MDD than in control subjects, a finding consistent with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation in MDD.

Conclusions: In premenopausal women with MDD, reduced daily adiponectin production may increase the risk of diabetes mellitus, and elevated leptin may contribute to osteoporosis.

J Clin Psychiatry 2010;71(8):1079-1087

Submitted: April 27, 2009; accepted November 17, 2009.

Online ahead of print: May 18, 2010 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05314blu).

Corresponding author: Giovanni Cizza, MD, PhD, MHSc, NIDDK/NIH, Bldg 10, CRC, Rm 6-3940, Bethesda, MD 20892-1613 (

Volume: 71

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