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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1982 Jul;66(1):66-82.

A double-blind study of zimelidine, a serotonin uptake inhibitor, and desipramine, a noradrenaline uptake inhibitor, in endogenous depression. II. Biochemical findings.


In a comparative evaluation of zimelidine, a potent serotonin (5-HT) uptake inhibitor, and desipramine, a potent noradrenaline (NA) uptake inhibitor, 65 hospitalized patients with endogenous depression were evaluated for the following biochemical variables: 5-HT uptake in platelets, 5-HT concentration in whole blood, inhibition of the 5-HT and NA accumulation in rat hypothalamic synaptosomes incubated in the patients' plasma, the excretion of 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl glycol (HMPG) in urine and the pretreatment levels of the amine metabolites 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA) and HMPG in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). results of the biochemical studies confirmed that zimelidine and desipramine have different profiles with respect to monoamine uptake. Thus zimelidine caused more marked inhibition of 5-HT uptake than desipramine, especially in rat brain synaptosomes incubated in the patient's plasma. Desipramine plasma was much more effective than zimelidine plasma in inhibiting NA uptake in the same preparation. The urinary excretion of HMPG decreased significantly during desipramine treatment but remained unchanged during zimelidine treatment. The combined clinical and biochemical results indicated that patients with low pretreatment levels of 5-HIAA and HVA in CSF responded significantly better to zimelidine than patients with high levels of 5-HIAA and HVA. On the other hand, patients with high levels of 5-HIAA and HVA. On the other hand, patients with high levels of HMPG in CSF tended to respond better to desipramine than those with low levels of this NA metabolite.

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