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INTRODUCTION: Sex steroid hormone fluctuations may underlie both reproductive disorders and sex differences in lifetime depression prevalence. Previous studies report high comorbidity among reproductive disorders and between reproductive disorders and depression. This study sought to assess the multivariate genetic architecture of reproductive disorders and their loading onto a common genetic factor and investigated whether this latent factor shares a common genetic architecture with female depression, including perinatal depression (PND). METHOD: Using UK Biobank and FinnGen data, genome-wide association meta-analyses were conducted for nine reproductive disorders, and genetic correlation between disorders was estimated. Genomic Structural Equation Modelling identified a latent genetic factor underlying disorders, accounting for their significant genetic correlations. SNPs significantly associated with both latent factor and depression were identified. RESULTS: Excellent model fit existed between a latent factor underlying five reproductive disorders (χ2 (5) = 6.4; AIC = 26.4; CFI = 1.00; SRMR = 0.03) with high standardised loadings for menorrhagia (0.96, SE = 0.05); ovarian cysts (0.94, SE = 0.05); endometriosis (0.83, SE = 0.05); menopausal symptoms (0.77, SE = 0.10); and uterine fibroids (0.65, SE = 0.05). This latent factor was genetically correlated with PND (rG = 0.37, SE = 0.15, p = 1.4e-03), depression in females only (rG = 0.48, SE = 0.06, p = 7.2e-11), and depression in both males and females (MD) (rG = 0.35, SE = 0.03, p = 1.8e-30), with its top locus associated with FSHB/ARL14EP (rs11031006; p = 9.1e-33). SNPs intronic to ESR1, significantly associated with the latent factor, were also associated with PND, female depression, and MD. CONCLUSION: A common genetic factor, correlated with depression, underlies risk of reproductive disorders, with implications for aetiology and treatment. Genetic variation in ESR1 is associated with reproductive disorders and depression, highlighting the importance of oestrogen signalling for both reproductive and mental health.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1059 - 1075


Depression, FSHB, Genetics, Oestrogen, Reproductive disorders, Sex difference, Pregnancy, Humans, Male, Female, Depression, Genome-Wide Association Study, Reproduction, Risk Factors, Comorbidity