Stimulatory effects of L-5-hydroxytryptophan on postdexamethasone β-endorphin levels in major depression

Michael Maes*, Ann Van Gastel, Rakesh Ranjan, Pierre Blockx, Paul Cosyns, Herbert Y. Meltzer, Roger Desnyder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently it has been shown that acute administration of 200 mg L-5-hydroxytryptophan (L-5-HTP) PO may increase post-dexamethasone (DST) adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels in major, but not minor, depressed subjects. This study aimed to examine the effects of 200 mg L-5-HTP PO on post-DST β-endorphin levels in the same depressed subjects. It was found that in major, but not minor, depressed subjects, L5-HTP significantly increased post-DST β-endorphin concentrations as compared to placebo. The L-5-HTP-induced post-DST β-endorphin responses were significantly higher in major than in minor depressed subjects. There was a significant and positive relationship between L5-HTP-induced post-DST β-endorphin and ACTH or cortisol responses. There was a significant and positive relationship between L-5-HTP-induced post-DST β-endorphin values and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) score. The results show that the acute administration of L-5-HTP may increase the escape of β-endorphin secretion from suppression by dexamethasone in major, but not minor, depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-348
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1996

Keywords

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • ACTH
  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Dexamethasone suppression test
  • Serotonin
  • β-Endorphin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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