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Psychiatry Res. 2004 Sep 30;128(2):117-22.

Elevated salivary dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate but normal cortisol levels in medicated depressed patients: preliminary findings.

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Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Tafelbergweg 25, 1105 BC Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Major depression is often associated with dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In contrast to cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) has been less extensively studied in depressed patients. This study examined salivary morning and evening levels of cortisol and DHEA-S in 13 medicated, unipolar, non-psychotic depressed patients and 13 healthy volunteers. Diurnal declines in cortisol and DHEA-S levels were found in both depressed and control groups. In patients compared with controls, DHEA-S was significantly elevated, in conjunction with normal cortisol levels. Based on DHEA-S at 22:00 h only, 77% of the subjects were correctly classified in a discriminant analysis as depressed or control. When simultaneously entered in a multiple regression analysis, DHEA-S (morning and evening) and cortisol (evening only) predicted symptom severity in depressed patients. These preliminary results suggest that DHEA-S may be a more sensitive indicator of depression and symptom severity than cortisol in medicated but still clinically depressed patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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