Comparison of 50- and 100-g L -tryptophan depletion and loading formulations for altering 5-HT synthesis: pharmacokinetics, side effects, and mood states.


Journal Article

RATIONALE: Differences in 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) function have been the subject of extensive research in psychiatric studies. Many studies have manipulated L -tryptophan (Trp) levels to temporarily decrease (depletion) or increase (loading) 5-HT synthesis. While most researchers have used a 100-g formulation, there has been ongoing interest in using smaller-sized formulations. OBJECTIVES: This study examined the time course of multiple plasma indicators of brain 5-HT synthesis after a 50-g depletion and loading as a comparison to the corresponding 100-g formulations that are typically used. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Plasma was collected from 112 healthy adults at seven hourly intervals after consumption of either a 50- or 100-g depletion or loading. Self-ratings of mood and somatic symptoms were completed before and after Trp manipulations. RESULTS: The primary findings were that (1) the 50- and 100-g formulations produced the expected changes in plasma indicators after both depletion (-89% and -96%, respectively) and loading (+570% and +372%, respectively); (2) the 100-g depletion showed more robust effects at the 4, 5, and 6 h measurements than the 50-g depletion; (3) there was significant attrition after both the 100-g depletion and loading, but not after either of the 50-g formulations; and (4) both the 50- and 100-g depletions produced increases in negative self-ratings of mood and somatic symptoms, while loading significantly increased negative ratings after the 100 g only. CONCLUSIONS: There are important considerations when choosing among formulation sizes for use in Trp manipulation studies, and the complete 7-h time-course data set of the typical plasma Trp measures presented here may help researchers decide which methodology best suits their needs.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Dougherty, DM; Marsh-Richard, DM; Mathias, CW; Hood, AJ; Addicott, MA; Moeller, FG; Morgan, CJ; Badawy, AA-B

Published Date

  • June 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 198 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 431 - 445

PubMed ID

  • 18452034

Pubmed Central ID

  • 18452034

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0033-3158

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00213-008-1163-2


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany