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December 1957

Depressive Affect and Endocrine Functions: Blood Levels of Adrenal Cortex and Thyroid Hormones in Patients Suffering from Depressive Reactions

Author Affiliations


From the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training, Michael Reese Medical Center.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;78(6):612-620. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330420072015

The significance of the adrenal cortex and the thyroid gland in the adaptation of the body to stressful life situations has been a subject of increasing interest in recent years. Evidence for the importance of these functions for vital adaptation has been reviewed previously1 and in more recent publications.2,3 We have reported that hospitalized psychiatric patients had elevated levels of plasma hydrocortisone (17-hydroxycorticosterone; 17-OH) and protein-bound iodine (PBI). The hydrocortisone levels were significantly higher than in controls; the PBI levels were elevated, but not significantly, when compared with those for normal control subjects. When the cases were evaluated from the viewpoint of either the intensity of emotional distress or the extent of personality disintegration, there seemed to be a correspondence between the height of the level of each hormone and the degree of clinical disturbance of the patient. Exceptionally high hormone levels were associated with very intense distress

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