We investigated the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on frontal cerebral blood flow (CBF), depressive symptoms, and cognitive function in depressed postmenopausal women. Fourteen postmenopausal women with depressive symptoms underwent HRT, and seven controls not undergoing HRT were studied. We evaluated frontal CBF, expressed as frontal/cerebellum (F/C) ratio, using Tc-99m hexamethyl propylene amine oxime single photon emission computed tomography (Tc-99m HMPAO SPECT), cognitive function using the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), and depression using the HAD (Hospital Anxiety and Depression) scale. All studies were carried out at initial status and after 9 months. Single photon emission computed tomography was performed at rest and at activation during the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Initial frontal CBF was not different between groups. After 9 months, resting frontal CBF was similar between groups. However, activated frontal CBF was significantly higher in the HRT group than in controls (F/C ratio: 0.924±0.04 versus 0.853±0.05, P=0.007). Furthermore, the increase in the activated F/C ratio was inversely associated with years since menopause. Mini-Mental Status Examination scores improved after HRT, but depression scores did not. Hormone replacement therapy improved frontal CBF and cognitive function but not depression in postmenopausal women. The changes in frontal CBF were detected only during WCST activation and were most apparent during early postmenopausal years.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine