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December 1968

Circadian Rhythm of Adrenal Cortical Activity in Depression: II. A Comparison of Types in Depression

Author Affiliations

Marshfield, Wis
From the Marshfield Clinic and the Marshfield Clinic Foundation for Research and Education, Marshfield, Wis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(6):682-688. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740120042007

IN a previous article,1 this research group presented evidence which suggested an alteration in the circadian rhythm of adrenal cortical activity in depression. The data showed that there was not only an increase in the level of serum and urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17-OHCS) in depressed patients but that the timing of this increase was different in the depressed patients compared to controls. It was pointed out in this article that the alteration in the circadian rhythm of adrenal cortical activity paralleled the changes in mood commonly described in depression. It was suggested that these changes in the level and timing of adrenal cortical activity in depression represented a response of the pituitary adrenal axis of the depressed patient to the discomfort associated with the depression.

This article will present evidence further substantiating that hypothesis by showing that the level of adrenal cortical