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October 1978

Deranged Anterior Pituitary Responsiveness to Hypothalamic Hormones in Depressed Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Brambilla, Smeraldi, Sacchetti, and Negri) and Pharmacology (First Chair) (Dr Cocchi), University of Milan, and the Institute of Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, University of Cagliari (Italy) (Dr Müller).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(10):1231-1238. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770340081009

• Abnormal anterior pituitary (AP) responsiveness to acute administration of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and luteinizing hormone-follicle stimulating hormone-releasing hormone (LH-RH) was investigated in 14 patients (two men and 12 women) suffering from primary affective disorders. In ten, TRH, 500 μg given intravenously, induced a rise in plasma growth hormone (GH) level, while in eight patients it induced a rise in plasma levels of FSH or LH or both. When LH-RH, 150 μg was administered intravenously to ten patients, it induced a rise in plasma GH level in one patient and increased plasma prolactin level in three patients. Collectively, in only three of 14 patients was conventional AP responsiveness to hypothalamic neurohormones present. These findings demonstrate the existence of a profound derangement of AP responsiveness to hypothalamic neurohormones in depressed patients and suggest that a primary alteration in the physiologic links between the central nervous system and the AP may be at the origin of the neuroendocrine disturbance.