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Psychol Med. 1990 Aug;20(3):493-9.

Positive relationship between the catecholaminergic turnover and the DST results in depression.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Antwerp, Belgium.


In the past some workers have reported positive relationships between indices of noradrenaline activity and measures of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis function. In order to investigate these relations, the authors measured noradrenaline, adrenaline and vanillylmandelic acid (VMA) in 24 h urine samples of 72 depressed females. Serum adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol concentrations were determined before and after administration of 1 mg of dexamethasone. Cortisol non-suppressors exhibited a significantly higher noradrenaline, adrenaline and VMA excretion as compared to cortisol suppressors. We determined significantly positive correlations between the postdexamethasone cortisol values and the excretion rates of noradrenaline and VMA. These indices of noradrenaline activity correlated neither with the baseline cortisol and ACTH nor with the postdexamethasone ACTH values.

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