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Psychol Med. 2004 Jan;34(1):169-72.

Further neuroendocrine evidence of enhanced vasopressin V3 receptor responses in melancholic depression.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University College Cork, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Ireland.



In situations of chronic stress vasopressin plays an important role in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis. The aim of the current study was to investigate the role of anterior pituitary vasopressin V3 receptors in maintaining the hypercortisolism seen in melancholic depression.


Fourteen patients with major depression and 14 age- and sex-matched healthy comparison subjects were recruited. Desmopressin (ddAVP) 10 microg was given intravenously and ACTH and cortisol release was monitored for 120 min.


The mean +/- S.E.M. ACTH response in the depressives was 28.4 +/- 4.3 ng/l and in the healthy subjects was 18.8 +/- 4.9 ng/l (P = 0.04). The mean +/- S.E.M. cortisol response in the depressives was 261.8 +/- 46.5 nmol/l and in the healthy subjects was 107.3 +/- 26.1 nmol/l (P < 0.01).


Patients with major depression have augmented ACTH and cortisol responses to desmopressin indicating enhanced V3 responsivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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