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      Sex Differences in the Neuropeptide Y System and Implications for Stress Related Disorders

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      Biomolecules

      MDPI

      females, neuropeptide Y, NPY receptors, stress, depression, age, early life stress, intranasal delivery

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          Abstract

          The neuropeptide Y (NPY) system is emerging as a promising therapeutic target for neuropsychiatric disorders by intranasal delivery to the brain. However, the vast majority of underlying research has been performed with males despite females being twice as susceptible to many stress-triggered disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anorexia nervosa, and anxiety disorders. Here, we review sex differences in the NPY system in basal and stressed conditions and how it relates to varied susceptibility to stress-related disorders. The majority of studies demonstrate that NPY expression in many brain areas under basal, unstressed conditions is lower in females than in males. This could put them at a disadvantage in dealing with stress. Knock out animals and Flinders genetic models show that NPY is important for attenuating depression in both sexes, while its effects on anxiety appear more pronounced in males. In females, NPY expression after exposure to stress may depend on age, timing, and nature and duration of the stressors and may be especially pronounced in the catecholaminergic systems. Furthermore, alterations in NPY receptor expression and affinity may contribute to the sex differences in the NPY system. Overall, the review highlights the important role of NPY and sex differences in manifestation of neuropsychiatric disorders.

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          Most cited references 173

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          Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States. Results from the National Comorbidity Survey.

          This study presents estimates of lifetime and 12-month prevalence of 14 DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders from the National Comorbidity Survey, the first survey to administer a structured psychiatric interview to a national probability sample in the United States. The DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders among persons aged 15 to 54 years in the noninstitutionalized civilian population of the United States were assessed with data collected by lay interviewers using a revised version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Nearly 50% of respondents reported at least one lifetime disorder, and close to 30% reported at least one 12-month disorder. The most common disorders were major depressive episode, alcohol dependence, social phobia, and simple phobia. More than half of all lifetime disorders occurred in the 14% of the population who had a history of three or more comorbid disorders. These highly comorbid people also included the vast majority of people with severe disorders. Less than 40% of those with a lifetime disorder had ever received professional treatment, and less than 20% of those with a recent disorder had been in treatment during the past 12 months. Consistent with previous risk factor research, it was found that women had elevated rates of affective disorders and anxiety disorders, that men had elevated rates of substance use disorders and antisocial personality disorder, and that most disorders declined with age and with higher socioeconomic status. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders is greater than previously thought to be the case. Furthermore, this morbidity is more highly concentrated than previously recognized in roughly one sixth of the population who have a history of three or more comorbid disorders. This suggests that the causes and consequences of high comorbidity should be the focus of research attention. The majority of people with psychiatric disorders fail to obtain professional treatment. Even among people with a lifetime history of three or more comorbid disorders, the proportion who ever obtain specialty sector mental health treatment is less than 50%. These results argue for the importance of more outreach and more research on barriers to professional help-seeking.
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            Twelve-month and lifetime prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of anxiety and mood disorders in the United States.

            Estimates of 12-month and lifetime prevalence and of lifetime morbid risk (LMR) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) anxiety and mood disorders are presented based on US epidemiological surveys among people aged 13+. The presentation is designed for use in the upcoming DSM-5 manual to provide more coherent estimates than would otherwise be available. Prevalence estimates are presented for the age groups proposed by DSM-5 workgroups as the most useful to consider for policy planning purposes. The LMR/12-month prevalence estimates ranked by frequency are as follows: major depressive episode: 29.9%/8.6%; specific phobia: 18.4/12.1%; social phobia: 13.0/7.4%; post-traumatic stress disorder: 10.1/3.7%; generalized anxiety disorder: 9.0/2.0%; separation anxiety disorder: 8.7/1.2%; panic disorder: 6.8%/2.4%; bipolar disorder: 4.1/1.8%; agoraphobia: 3.7/1.7%; obsessive-compulsive disorder: 2.7/1.2. Four broad patterns of results are most noteworthy: first, that the most common (lifetime prevalence/morbid risk) lifetime anxiety-mood disorders in the United States are major depression (16.6/29.9%), specific phobia (15.6/18.4%), and social phobia (10.7/13.0%) and the least common are agoraphobia (2.5/3.7%) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (2.3/2.7%); second, that the anxiety-mood disorders with the earlier median ages-of-onset are phobias and separation anxiety disorder (ages 15-17) and those with the latest are panic disorder, major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder (ages 23-30); third, that LMR is considerably higher than lifetime prevalence for most anxiety-mood disorders, although the magnitude of this difference is much higher for disorders with later than earlier ages-of-onset; and fourth, that the ratio of 12-month to lifetime prevalence, roughly characterizing persistence, varies meaningfully in ways consistent with independent evidence about differential persistence of these disorders. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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              Sex differences and stress across the lifespan.

              Sex differences in stress responses can be found at all stages of life and are related to both the organizational and activational effects of gonadal hormones and to genes on the sex chromosomes. As stress dysregulation is the most common feature across neuropsychiatric diseases, sex differences in how these pathways develop and mature may predict sex-specific periods of vulnerability to disruption and increased disease risk or resilience across the lifespan. The aging brain is also at risk to the effects of stress, where the rapid decline of gonadal hormones in women combined with cellular aging processes promote sex biases in stress dysregulation. In this Review, we discuss potential underlying mechanisms driving sex differences in stress responses and their relevance to disease. Although stress is involved in a much broader range of diseases than neuropsychiatric ones, we highlight here this area and its examples across the lifespan.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                biomolecules
                Biomolecules
                MDPI
                2218-273X
                27 August 2020
                September 2020
                : 10
                : 9
                Affiliations
                Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA; rnahvi@ 123456student.nymc.edu
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: esther_sabban@ 123456nymc.edu ; Tel.: +1-914-594-4068
                Article
                biomolecules-10-01248
                10.3390/biom10091248
                7564266
                32867327
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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