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Life Sci. 1995;57(19):PL285-92.

24h withdrawal following repeated administration of caffeine attenuates brain serotonin but not tryptophan in rat brain: implications for caffeine-induced depression.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Karachi, Pakistan.


Caffeine injected at doses of 20, 40 and 80 mg/kg increased brain levels of tryptophan, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) in rat brain. In view of a possible role of 5-HT in caffeine-induced depression the effects of repeated administration of high doses of caffeine on brain 5-HT metabolism are investigated in rats. Caffeine was injected at doses of 80 mg/kg daily for five days. Control animals were injected with saline daily for five days. On the 6th day caffeine (80 mg/kg) injected to 5 day saline injected rats increased brain levels of tryptophan, 5-HT and 5-HIAA. Plasma total tryptophan levels were not affected and free tryptophan increased. Brain levels of 5-HT and 5-HIAA but not tryptophan decreased in 5 day caffeine injected rats injected with saline on the 6th day. Plasma total and free tryptophan were not altered in these rats. Caffeine-induced increases of brain tryptophan but not 5-HT and 5-HIAA were greater in 5 day caffeine than 5 day saline injected rats. The findings are discussed as repeated caffeine administration producing adaptive changes in the serotonergic neurons to decrease the conversion of tryptophan to 5-HT and this may precipitate depression particularly in conditions of caffeine withdrawal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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