|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|Work Steals Valuable Sleep Time, Study FindsConstant Email Checks Can Leave You StressedHealth Tip: Check Stress at the OfficeEmotional Stress Affects Women's HeartsStress Affects Women, Men With Heart Disease Differently, Study ShowsHealth Tip: Is Stress Keeping You Awake?Burnout on the Job Isn't Just About the WorkGenes May Make Some More Prone to Heart Disease When Under StressStress Might Be Even More Unhealthy for the ObeseHealth Tip: Ward Off StressHealth Tip: Relax DailyHealth Tip: Manage Stress to Keep Diabetes in CheckDaily Stressors Alter Metabolic Response to High-Fat MealsStress May Leave You Heading to the Cookie JarStress, Depression May Boost Stroke Risk, Study FindsECO: Stress in Children Impacts Hormones, Diet, AdiposityHealth Tip: Handle Stress in a Healthy WayHealth Tip: Exercise for Stress ReliefResearchers Shed Light on Link Between Stress, Heart TroubleStressful Social Relations Tied to Higher Mortality RiskJapan Quake Shows How Stress Alters the BrainStress Tied to Worse Allergy SymptomsWork-Home Interference Key Contributor to BurnoutPerceived Stress Positively Linked to Allergy FlaresStress Hormone May Drive Risk-Taking by Teen MotoristsCould Reducing Stress Help Bring On a Migraine?Galanin System Genes Linked to Risk of Depression in StressStress May Diminish a Woman's Fertility, Study SuggestsStress Can Quickly Harm Kids' Health: StudyHealth Tip: Manage StressMore Stress, More Headaches, Study SaysTeens' Stress Levels Rival Those of Adults, Survey FindsFemales May Be Naturally More Prone to Stress: Animal StudyQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Females May Be Naturally More Prone to Stress: Animal Study
by -- Alan Mozes
Updated: Jun 15th 2010
TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to stress, women are twice as likely as men to develop stress-induced disease, such as depression and/or post-traumatic stress, and now a new study in rats could help researchers understand why.
The team has uncovered evidence in animals that suggests that males benefit from having a protein that regulates and diminishes the brain's stress signals -- a protein that females lack.
What's more, the team uncovered what appears to be a molecular double-whammy, noting that in animals a second protein that helps process such stress signals more effectively -- rendering them more potent -- is much more effective in females than in males.
The differing dynamics, reported online June 15 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, have so far only been observed in male and female rats.
However, Debra Bangasser of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and colleagues suggest that if this psychopathology is ultimately reflected in humans it could lead to the development of new drug treatments that target gender-driven differences in the molecular processing of stress.
In a news release from the journal's publisher, the study authors explained that the identified protein differences relate to the alternate ways male and female rats respond to the brain's secretion of a molecule called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF).
CRF, they pointed out, controls the body's response to stress. When the researchers injected rats with CRF it took less of the molecule to excite the female rats than the male rats. The authors attributed this to a protein -- present in both genders -- that works to bind with CRF more effectively in female rats, thus elevating their stress sensitivity.
Male rats, on the other hand, were also better able to handle stress because of a second protein they possess that is absent in female rats. This protein allows male rats to "internalize" stress exposure by cutting back on the number of cell membrane receptors they make available for CRF binding, thereby reducing the molecule's impact.
For more on managing stress, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This article: Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.