Genetic basis for postpartum depression

Jennifer L. Payne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Familial, genome-wide linkage and association studies, and candidate gene studies, most conducted in the past 10 years, have examined the genetic etiology of postpartum depression (PPD). The most commonly studied genes include genes that have been implicated in other mood disorders, particularly major depression though some like estrogen receptor 1 have been studied based on a theoretical involvement in PPD itself. Evidence is strong for the genetic basis for PPD with approximately a 40% heritability. The heritability is thought to be a mixture of genetic risks for other types of mood disorders and genetic risks that are unique to PPD. Positive associations have been found in family studies and in several genes associated with major depression as well as genes involved in estrogen signaling but only when PPD onset is defined shortly after delivery. Our findings underscore the need for additional studies with larger samples, as well as the crucial importance of timing in the definition of PPD for genetic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomarkers of Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128155080
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Association
  • Esr1
  • Genetics
  • Hmcni
  • Linkage
  • Major depression
  • Postpartum depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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