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December 1965

Norepinephrine in Depressive Reactions: A Review

Author Affiliations

From the Psychosomatic Section, Adult Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;13(6):483-494. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01730060001001

Introduction  LITTLE IS known about the possible etiological biochemical factors relating to depressive reactions. Clinical evidence suggests that many depressions respond to the following somatic treatment: electric convulsive therapy (ECT), the imipramine type of drugs, and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor group of drugs.2,3 Do these two classes of drugs have common factors in their mechanism of action and can this be related to the fact that one antihypertensive agent, namely, reserpine, produces severe depression in a small but consistent number of hypertensive patients?4-8Rosenblatt et al,9 in 1959, were among the first to specifically suggest that changes in brain norepinephrine (NEP) may be involved in depression. Based in part on the knowledge of the effect of reserpine and monoamine oxidase inhibitors on depressed mood and norepinephrine (NEP), they hypothesized that the depressive state might be associated with a relative decrease of norepinephrine

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