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Psychiatry Res. 1985 Aug;15(4):281-92.

Cerebrospinal fluid monoamine and monoamine metabolite concentrations in melancholia.


Cerebrospinal fluid levels of norepinephrine and six monoamine metabolites were measured in 28 medication-free depressed patients. Patients with a major depressive episode with melancholia (n = 15) had significantly lower levels of the three dopamine metabolites: homovanillic acid (HVA), dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), and conjugated dihydroxyphenylacetic (CONJDOPAC), when compared with a combined group of patients with a major depressive episode or dysthymic disorder (n = 13). In patients with major depressive episode with melancholia, levels of HVA and of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid significantly correlated with the severity of depression. In the total group of 28 depressed patients, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of norepinephrine significantly correlated with symptoms of anxiety. In both patients with major depressive episode and major depressive episode with melancholia, those who were non-suppressors on the dexamethasone suppression test had significantly higher CSF levels of the norepinephrine metabolite 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol compared to those who were suppressors.

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