Aug. 4, 2023 – A growing body of scientific evidence draws attention to the connections between our brain, hormones, and emotional well-being. To deepen an understanding of the relationship between ovarian hormones and depression, a recently published animal study turned its lens on a small yet highly influential area of the brain, known as the medial preoptic area (mPOA). This study [1] presents a compelling case for the role of this region as a focus of action for reproductive hormones regulating depression.

Evidence gathered from a variety of sources, such as epidemiological studies, has long suggested a strong link between hormonal fluctuations and the incidence of mood disorders. For example, many women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, or perimenopausal depression—all corresponding to periods of significant hormonal change.

However, understanding the precise neural mechanisms that underlie these patterns has been a major challenge.