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Vol 21 (2023): Continuous Publishing
Research paper
Published online: 2023-09-14

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Expression of genes ESR1 and ESR2 encoding estrogen receptors and cognitive functioning in patients with depression

Maria Kozłowiec1, Małgorzata Gałecka1, Agata Orzechowska1, Janusz Szemraj2, Piotr Gałecki1
Journal of Sexual and Mental Health 2023;21:12-20.


Introduction: Researchers are increasingly interested in the role of sex hormones and their impact on other than reproductive systems, including mental functioning. Estrogens acting through the receptors ESR1 and ESR2 may participate in the regulation of mood and cognitive functions. The aim of the study was to evaluate the expression of genes ESR1 and ESR2 encoding estrogen receptors in depressive disorders and search for relationship between gene expression, cognitive functioning and socio-demographic data. Material and methods: A total of 236 people (131 depressed patients, 105 healthy controls) participated in the study. Socio-demographic data were collected. Neuropsychological test have been carried out to evaluatecognitive functions. Venous blood was collected from all participants. RT-PCR was performed to evaluate the expression of genes ESR1 and ESR2 at mRNA level and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test to evaluate gene expression at protein level. Results: Participants suffering from depression were characterized by a higher level of ESR1 expression both at the mRNA and protein level. Expression of ESR1 and ESR2 genes might be related to functioning in the examined cognitive areas. Expression of ESR1 and ESR2 genes does not differ statistically significantly in terms of gender. Conclusions: ESR1 and ESR2 genes might play an important role in depression and cognitive functioning.

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