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April 1987

Platelet Tritiated Imipramine Binding and Serotonin Uptake in Depressed Patients and Controls: Relationship to Plasma Cortisol Levels Before and After Dexamethasone Administration

Author Affiliations

From the Section on Clinical Studies, Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr Roy is currently with the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, Division of Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md. Mr Everett is currently with the Epidemiology, Demography, Biometry Program, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(4):320-327. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800160024005

• We measured platelet tritiated imipramine binding and serotonin uptake in 51 depressed patients and 43 normal controls. Although there were no significant differences in platelet 3H-imipramine binding or serotonin uptake when the total group of depressed patients was compared with controls, depressed women (n = 32) had a significantly lower maximal density of 3H-imipramine binding sites (βmax) than control women (n = 25). Moreover, among the total group of depressed patients, there were significant negative correlations between the βmax values and plasma cortisol levels at 4 PM (n = 41) and 11 PM (n = 41) following dexamethasone administration. These negative correlations between βmax and cortisol levels were strongest among melancholic patients both at 4 PM before dexamethasone administration (n =14) and at 11 PM after dexamethasone administration (n =15). These data suggest that the reported decrease in βmax found among depressed patients may be related to and is perhaps secondary to the hypercortisolemia of depression.

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