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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Jun 1;35(4):1100-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Sex-specific cortisol levels in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia during mental challenge--relationship to clinical characteristics and medication.

Author information

1
Psychosis Research Unit, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål Hospital, P.O. Box 4956 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway. n.e.steen@medisin.uio.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to examine the cortisol release during a mental challenge in severe mental disorders versus healthy controls (HC), analyzing effects of sex, clinical characteristics and medication, and comparing Bipolar Disorder (BD) to Schizophrenia (SCZ).

METHODS:

Patients with BD and SCZ (n=151) were recruited from a catchment area. HC (n=98) were randomly selected from the same area. Salivary samples were collected before and after a mental challenge and cortisol levels determined.

RESULTS:

During the challenge there was an interaction between group and sex (P = 0.015) with male patients having a blunted cortisol release compared to male HC (P = 0.037). Cortisol change did not differ significantly between BD and SCZ. In all patients, the cortisol change correlated with number of psychotic episodes (r = -0.23, P = 0.025), and in females patients, with number of depressive episodes (r = -0.33, P = 0.015). Patients using antidepressants had a greater cortisol release during challenge than those not using antidepressants (P = 0.043).

CONCLUSIONS:

Male patients with severe mental disorders seem to have a uniform abnormal cortisol release during mental challenges which associates with clinical course, and with beneficial effects of antidepressants.

PMID:
21420462
DOI:
10.1016/j.pnpbp.2011.03.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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