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Neuropsychobiology. 1997;36(4):164-71.

Weak association between blood sodium, potassium, and calcium and intensity of symptoms in major depressed patients.

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Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Département de Psychiatrie, Chêne-Bourg, Genève, Switzerland.


In previous reports, we showed that plasma and erythrocyte magnesium were increased in many drug-free hospitalized depressed patients. Furthermore, we observed that erythrocyte magnesium content was related to the intensity of the symptoms. Highly depressed patients had the highest magnesium values. Today, we report the results of plasma and erythrocyte sodium and potassium, and of total and ultrafilterable plasma calcium in 66 hospitalized patients with major depression compared to 58 healthy controls. No consistent differences in these biochemical parameters are observed between patients when separated according to intensity of anxiety, psychomotor retardation, and moral distress. Plasma sodium is higher and plasma potassium lower in female patients of all subgroups as compared to controls. Both male patients and controls have erythrocyte sodium and potassium levels that are significantly different from those of females. This clearly suggests a separation into genders in such studies. In conclusion--in contrast to blood magnesium--sodium, potassium, and calcium levels do not seem to be related to the intensity of the main clinical symptoms in hospitalized patients with major depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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