Relationship Between Blood Serotonergic Variables, Melancholic Traits, and Response to Antidepressant Treatments

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

The relationship between peripheral serotonergic variables, melancholic traits, and clinical improvement after antidepressant treatment was examined in 83 drug-free major depressive patients. Plasma serotonin (5-HT) concentrations was lower in untreated melancholic patients (1.00 +/- 0.11 vs. 1.84 +/- 0.28 ng/mL, p < 0.008; N = 40 and 43, respectively). A tendency was observed for plasma 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (p < 0.06), whereas platelet 5-HT and plasma tryptophan did not differ between groups. After blood sampling and clinical ratings, treatment began with fixed doses of 5-HT uptake inhibitors (clomipramine or fluvoxamine), monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or tianeptine, a 5-HT uptake enhancer. There was no significant difference in response rates between patients with and without melancholic traits. The relationship between the clinical response at 6 weeks (> 50% reduction of baseline Hamilton score) and the pretreatment values of biochemical variables was examined. Responders had a lower pretreatment platelet 5-HT (530 +/- 36 vs. 664 +/- 50 ng/109 platelets, p < 0.03; N = 44 and 39, respectively). Patients with a platelet 5-HT concentration above 800 ng/109 platelets had a lower response rate than those below this value (p < 0.003). This difference was maximal in the subgroup of patients treated with 5-HT uptake inhibitors (N = 49). In this subgroup, the response rates of patients with 5-HT concentrations below and above the cutoff point were, respectively, 70% and 17% (p < 0.001). A pretreatment platelet 5-HT value above 800 ng/109 platelets had a predictive value for a negative response of 92%. These results suggest the presence of biochemical differences in the peripheral serotonergic system between melancholic and non-melancholic patients. The inverse relationship between the pretreatment platelet 5-HT content and clinical response may be useful in the investigation of the relationship between the 5-HT system and antidepressant response. (J Clin Psychopharmacol 1998;18:222-230)

    loading  Loading Related Articles