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Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Oct 15;56(8):587-91.

Tryptophan depletion and serotonin loss in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-treated depression: an [(18)F] MPPF positron emission tomography study.

Author information

  • 1Vivian M. Rakoff PET Imaging Centre and the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recurrence of depressive symptoms after tryptophan depletion (TD) in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-treated depression is an important, unexplained phenomenon. With [(18)F] MPPF positron emission tomography (PET), serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) 1A receptor binding potential (5-HT(1A)BP) was measured after TD in various brain regions in citalopram-treated depression. This 5-HT(1A)BP measurement is sensitive to changes in extracellular 5-HT in animal models.

METHODS:

Eight remitted patients with major depressive disorder received [(18)F] MPPF PET scans twice: once after TD and once after sham depletion. Behavioral measures were evaluated with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and visual analog scales.

RESULTS:

No effect on regional 5-HT(1A)BP was observed after TD, despite an 86% decrease in total plasma tryptophan and transient depressive relapse in six of eight patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Large-magnitude changes in extracellular 5-HT are not crucial for the mood effects observed in SSRI-treated subjects after TD. Therefore, greater consideration must be given to other mechanisms that involve vulnerability to small perturbations in extracellular 5-HT, such as impairment of signal transduction.

PMID:
15476688
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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