Depression and alterations in hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal and hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis function in male abstinent methamphetamine abusers

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The present study was to investigate depression and alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) and hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid (HPT) axis function in methamphetamine (METH) abusers after abstinence. Depression was assessed using the 13-item Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-13) scale; blood samples from in-patients who were METH abusers and age-matched and sex-matched healthy controls were collected. The demographic characteristics and history of METH abuse also was assessed. We found that serum levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and thyroxine were increased; and serum levels of cortisol, triiodothyronine, and thyroid-stimulating hormone were decreased; and the BDI score was higher in METH abusers compared with control. In addition, there was no correlation between the BDI-13 score and any of hormones of HPA and HPT axis was found. Particularly, we found abnormally higher ACTH level and mismatched with lower cortisol level in abstinent METH abusers. These results indicate that METH abusers and that their HPA and HPT functions are all altered after abstinence. Chronically using METH may destroy the regulatory function of the HPA axis, especially the feedback regulation of cortisol to ACTH. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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