Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Br J Psychiatry. 2001 May;178:448-53.

Effects of rapid tryptophan depletion on brain 5-HT(2) receptors: a PET study.

Author information

  • 1Division of Mood Disorders, The University of British Columbia, Canada. yatham@unixg.ubc.ca



The mechanism by which rapid tryptophan depletion (RTD) paradigm induces depressive relapse in recently remitted patients with depression is unknown.


To determine the effects of RTD on brain 5-HT(2) receptors using positron emission tomography (PET) and (18)F-labelled setoperone.


Ten healthy women under went two PET scans. Each scan was done 5 h after the ingestion of either a balanced or a tryptophan-deficient amino acid mixture, and the two test sessions were separated by at least 5 days.


The RTD decreased plasma free tryptophan levels significantly but it had no significant effects on mood. Subjects showed a significant decrease in brain 5-HT(2) receptor binding in various cortical regions following the RTD session.


When taken with the evidence that antidepressant treatment is associated with a decrease in brain 5-HT(2) receptors, these findings suggest that a decrease in 5-HT(2) binding following RTD might be an adaptive response that provides protection against depressive symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk