Recently, our laboratory found a significant enhancing of L-5-hydroxy-tryptophan (L-5-HTP) on post-dexamethasone (DST) plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels in major - but not in minor - depression. To further elucidate the effects of central serotonin (5-HT) activity on the negative feedback of glucocorticoids on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis function in depression, this study investigates the effects of buspirone, a 5-HT1A receptor agonist, on post-DST ACTH and cortisol levels in 75 depressed subjects. Plasma post-DST ACTH and cortisol concentrations were significantly increased by the acute administration of buspirone (30 mg PO) compared to placebo. There were no differences in buspirone-induced post-DST ACTH or cortisol responses between minor and major depression. There were significant correlations between post-DST ACTH and cortisol, and between post-DST-buspirone ACTH and cortisol. The buspirone-induced post-DST cortisol responses were significantly higher in depressed women than men. It is concluded that bispirone may augment ACTH and, consequently, cortisol escape from suppression by dexamethasone in major as well as minor depression.
- 5-HT2 receptors
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry