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Mechanism of Postpartum Depression

postpartum depression is common
new neurobiological model to explain:
decr estrogen-->incr MAO-A binding-->low mood & risk for depression
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67:468-474.


study in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry
researcher: Jeffrey H. Meyer, MD, PhD, of University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

study found spike in MAO-A right after delivery
MAO-A is elevated 4-6-days postpartum

MAO-A metabolizes serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine
depletion of these chemicals-->low mood
MAO-A incr after estrogen decrease
never before measured in the early postpartum period when est levels decr 100-1000x

n = 30
15 healthy women 4-6 days post partum compared with 15 healthy women who had not recently given birth
nonsmokers, no meds
measure: positron emission tomography

researchers determined:
MAO-A total distribution volume
MAO-A density in the prefrontal, anterior cingulate, and anterior temporal cortices
also in thalamus, dorsal putamen, hippocampus, midbrain

total distribution volume of this protein was significantly elevated (mean, 43%)
throughout all analyzed brain regions in the women who were recently post partum relative to not group

possible tx:
give nutrients that will replace what MAO-A moves during this time period
MAO-A inhibitors

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