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      Corticosteroid Receptor Function Is Decreased in Depressed Patients

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          Abstract

          Decreased feedback control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system as revealed by the combined dexamethasone and corticotropin-releasing hormone (DEX-CRH) test has been documented in the vast majority of patients with affective disorders. This finding was interpreted as a failure at the level of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated feedback action, which apparently fails to restrain HPA activity in the presence of elevated plasma corticosteroid levels. To test this hypothesis we conducted the DEX/CRH test using increasing doses of DEX in order to establish a dose-response relationship. We used three different DEX doses (0.75, 1.5, 3.0 mg) in three groups of depressed patients and controls. As expected, increasing DEX doses were associated with decreasing amounts of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol being released after CRH injection. However, dose-response curves for both plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations were shifted to higher area under the curve (AUC) values among patients compared to controls. Pretreatment with 0.75 and 1.5 mg DEX produced significantly higher AUC values for both plasma ACTH and cortisol values among patients. These differences became less obvious with the higher DEX doses, indicating that the dose of 1.5 mg used in the majority of clinical studies so far is well suited to differentiate between healthy controls and patients. The reported data here are consistent with the hypothesis that an altered GR capacity or function underlies the exaggerated HPA activity in depression.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          NEN
          Neuroendocrinology
          10.1159/issn.0028-3835
          Neuroendocrinology
          S. Karger AG
          0028-3835
          1423-0194
          1997
          1997
          09 April 2008
          : 65
          : 3
          : 216-222
          Affiliations
          Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany
          Article
          127275 Neuroendocrinology 1997;65:216–222
          10.1159/000127275
          9088003
          © 1997 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 7
          Categories
          Stress and Corticotropin Regulation

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