Neuroendocrine identification of depressed patients.


Journal Article

Recent studies of hypothalamo--pituitary--adrenal (HPA) suppression in depressed patients indicate that these subjects often show abnormal early escape of plasma cortisol levels following an initial suppression. Non-depressed psychiatric inpatients usually show normal sustained HPA suppression. The responses of 49 depressed and 30 non-depressed patients have been analysed to develop criteria which can make the dexamethasone suppression test suitable for outpatient studies. The cortisol levels measured in a 24-hour urine collection and a single blood sample post-dexamethasone were sufficient to enable 61% of the depressed patients to be identified correctly at a confidence level of 90%, on the basis of at least one abnormal cortisol value. When both cortisol values were abnormal 35% of the depressed patient were identified correctly at a confidence level of 100%. Patients with "endogenous" depressive profiles had the most abnormal results. A normal response to this test will not necessarily exclude the diagnosis of primary depressive illness. An abnormal response to the test may be of help in confirming the diagnosis. With the simplified procedure outpatient studies may become possible.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Carroll, BJ; Curtis, GC

Published Date

  • March 1, 1976

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 13 - 20

PubMed ID

  • 1065309

Pubmed Central ID

  • 1065309

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0004-8674

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3109/00048677609159480


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England