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Psychiatry Res. 1991 Nov;39(2):129-39.

Growth hormone responses to intravenous clonidine challenge correlate with behavioral irritability in psychiatric patients and healthy volunteers.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Philadelphia 19129.


To explore the relationship between central noradrenergic receptor responsivity and indices of impulsive aggression, growth hormone responses to infusions with the alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist clonidine (GH[CLON]) and responses on the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI) were examined in healthy male volunteers and male patients with major affective or personality disorder. GH[CLON] values were found to correlate significantly with the BDHI "Irritability" subscale in all subjects, but especially in healthy volunteer and personality disorder patients. GH[CLON] values did not correlate with the BDHI "Assault" subscale. These results suggest a role for central alpha 2-adrenergic receptor responsivity in the personality trait characterized by behavioral irritability, but not overt assaultiveness, in humans.

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