(HealthDay News) – Middle-aged women with insulin secretion levels in the lowest quintile appear to have more than twice the risk of developing new-onset depressive symptoms compared with those with higher insulin secretion levels, according to research published online Dec. 10 in Diabetes Care.

Tasnime N. Akbaraly, PhD, of University College London, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 3,145 adults (23.5% women) with an average age of 60.6 years to examine the correlation between glycemia, insulin resistance, and insulin secretion with subsequent new-onset depressive symptoms.

The researchers found that depressive symptoms developed in 142 men and 84 women over the five-year follow-up. The odds of developing new onset depressive symptoms were 2.18-fold higher for women in the lowest quintile of insulin secretion, defined as the homeostasis model assessment of β-cell insulin secretion ≤55.3%, compared with those with higher insulin secretion. Inflammatory markers, cortisol secretion, or menopausal status and hormone replacement therapy did not explain the association. There was no correlation between fasting insulin measures and new-onset depressive symptoms for men, and in neither sex were fasting glucose measures associated with new-onset symptoms.

“Low insulin secretion appears to be a risk factor for new onset depressive symptoms in middle-aged women, although further work is required to confirm this finding,” the authors write.

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