Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychiatry. 2000 Aug 15;48(4):327-9.

Tryptophan depletion and risk of depression relapse: a prospective study of tryptophan depletion as a potential predictor of depressive episodes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson 85724, USA.



This study investigated the relationship between depressive symptom response during tryptophan depletion and future depressive episodes.


Twelve subjects with prior major depressive episodes in remission and medication-free for > or =3 months (patients), and 12 matched healthy (control) subjects received two tryptophan depletion tests 1 week apart. During follow-up the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale was administered weekly for 1 month, monthly for 3 months, and once at 6 and 12 months.


With results from both tests, tryptophan depletion has a sensitivity of 78%, specificity of 80%, positive predictive value of 70%, and negative predictive value of 86% to identify future depressive episodes. Survival analysis shows that mood response to tryptophan depletion reliably predicts major depressive episodes during the follow-up year (r =.2725, p =.014).


Tryptophan depletion may be clinically useful in identifying individuals at risk for future major depressive episodes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center