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Decreased Imipramine Binding in the Brains of Patients with Depressive Illness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

E. K. Perry
Department of Neuropathology, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE
E. F. Marshall
Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
G. Blessed
University Department of Psychiatry, Brighton Clinic, Newcastle General Hospital
B. E. Tomlinson
Department of Pathology, Newcastle General Hospital
R. H. Perry
MRC Neuroendocrinology Unit, Newcastle General Hospital


The binding of tritiated imipramine was significantly reduced in the hippocampus and occipital cortex from a series of patients with depressive illness compared with age-matched patients with no psychiatric disorder. In contrast there was no change in imipramine binding in established cases of senile dementia of Alzheimer-type. Scatchard analysis indicated normal binding affinity but a reduction in the number of imipramine binding sites in depression. These observations parallel previous findings of decreased binding sites in platelets from depressed patients and suggest there may be an abnormality in the uptake mechanism for serotonin in depression.

Copyright © 1983 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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