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Consistent Reduction of ACTH responses to stimulation with CRH, Vasopressin and Hypoglycaemia in Patients with Major Depression

  • Roger G. Kathol (a1), Richard S. Jaeckle (a2), Juan F. Lopez (a3) and William H. Meller (a4)


Eleven patients with major depression and 12 control subjects were administered corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), aqueous arginine vasopressin (AVP), and insulin hypoglycaemia (IH) to test for differences in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function. Patients with major depression demonstrated lower ACTH responses to CRH when compared with controls, and a trend toward such after administration of AVP. Despite lower ACTH responses in patients with depression, there were no differences in Cortisol responses to these stimuli. In the CRH and AVP tests, there was no correlation between the basal Cortisol and ACTH responses in either controls or patients, but in the IH test there was a negative correlation between these responses for both groups. The ACTH responses to CRH and AVP were positively correlated in controls and patients. Cortisol responses to all three provocative stimuli were positively correlated in both subject groups. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that hypothalamic or supra-hypothalamic overactivity may be involved in the development of HPA-axis abnormalities in patients with depression.


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Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA


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Consistent Reduction of ACTH responses to stimulation with CRH, Vasopressin and Hypoglycaemia in Patients with Major Depression

  • Roger G. Kathol (a1), Richard S. Jaeckle (a2), Juan F. Lopez (a3) and William H. Meller (a4)


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