A multidisciplinary team of physicians from the Hadassah Medical Center has discovered that a particular pattern of gene expression is present shortly after delivery in women who suffer from persistent postpartum depression (PD).

In a controlled study, the Hadassah team compared the gene expression profiles of blood mononuclear cells from mothers who experienced PD and those who did not. They discovered “a distinctive gene expression signature” among mothers with PD. The researchers conclude that “our data provide initial evidence indicating that blood cells sampled shortly after delivery may harbor valuable prognostic information for identifying the onset of persisting PD.” In addition, they note that “some of the informative transcripts and pathways may be implicated in the differential vulnerability that underlies depression pathogenesis.”

The authors–R.H. Segman, T. Goltser-Dubner, L. Canetti, E. Galili-Weisstub, and V. Pablov, Hadassah’s Department of Psychiatry; I. Weiner and N. Friedman, Hebrew University School of Computer Science and Engineering; D. Hochner-Celnikier and A. Milwidsky, Hadassah’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology–published their findings in the January 2010 issue of Molecular Psychiatry.