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Letters to the Editor
February 2002

The Role of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction in the Attenuated Growth Hormone Response in Adolescents With Familial Loading for Affective Disorder

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(2):186-187. doi:

Birmaher et al1 separated adolescents into those at high and low risk for affective disorders on the basis of family history and have demonstrated that those at high risk have a relatively attenuated growth hormone (GH) response to GH–releasing hormone (GHRH). We propose that rather than being a "trait marker for depression," these data reflect hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction that has been demonstrated in patients with high familial loading for affective disorders.2 This view is also supported by preliminary evidence that variations in steroid function, particularly dehydroepiandrosterone levels, predict subsequent depression in adolescents.3

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