Cortisol response in the combined dexamethasone/CRH test as predictor of relapse in patients with remitted depression: a prospective study
ABSTRACT The development and course of depression is causally linked to impairment of central regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system. Previous research documented that the combined dexamethasone/corticotropin-releasing hormone (DEX/CRH) test identifies HPA dysfunction with high sensitivity. We evaluated the predictive validity for medium-term outcome of the cortisol response in the combined DEX/CRH test in 74 remitted patients previously suffering from major depressive disorder. Of the 74 patients, 61 remained in stable remission and 13 relapsed during the first 6 months after discharge from the hospital. Although the cortisol and ACTH responses in the DEX/CRH test did not differ between the two groups of patients on admission, the responses differed significantly just before discharge (P< 0.05). We defined two dichotomous variables as prediction rules indicating (1) the change between admission and discharge in the cortisol response to the DEX/CRH test, and (2) the effect of the CRH infusion on cortisol as compared to the baseline level in the DEX/CRH test prior to discharge only. An elevated cortisol response in the DEX/CRH test was correlated with a four- to six-fold higher risk for relapse than in individuals with a normal cortisol response. The two proposed rules for predicting relapse within the first 6 months after discharge could be optimized by including age and gender. Hence, an exaggerated cortisol response in the combined DEX/CRH test predicts the recurrence of depressive psychopathology. The test performance can be further optimized if gender and age are taken into account.
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ABSTRACT: Objectives The impact of Hatha yoga as add-on treatment to quetiapine fumarate extended release (QXR) or escitalopram (ESC) in depressed patients on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity was assessed. Methods 60 inpatients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) according to DSM-IV were randomized for a 5 week treatment with Yoga or not (control group) and with either QXR (300 mg/day) or ESC (10 mg/day). Serial dexamethasone/corticotropin releasing hormone (DEX/CRH) tests were performed to assess HPA axis function. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (21-HAMD) was used weekly. Results A more pronounced down regulation of the HPA axis activity due to yoga could not be detected. The stepwise long term cortisol reduction was seen in both medication groups, irrespectively of yoga add-on treatment. In addition, cortisol improvers in week 1 of therapy (reduction in cortisol peak value within the DEX/CRH test) reached significant greater amelioration of depressive symptoms after 5 weeks. Conclusions Our results suggest that antidepressant agents down regulate HPA axis function to a greater extent than additional Hatha yoga treatment. Moreover, an early reduction of HPA system hyperactivity after one week of pharmacological treatment seems to raise the possibility of a favorable treatment response.Journal of Psychiatric Research 06/2014; 53. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.02.022 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A robust epidemiological literature suggests an association between chronic stress and the development of affective disorders. However, the precise biological underpinnings of this relationship remain elusive. Central to the human response and adaptation to stress, activation and inhibition of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis involves a multi-level, multi-system, neurobiological stress response which is as comprehensive in its complexity as it is precarious. Dysregulation in this complex system has implications for human stress related illness. The pioneering research of Robert Purdy and colleagues has laid the groundwork for advancing our understanding of HPA axis regulation by stress-derived steroid hormones and their neuroactive metabolites (termed neurosteroids), which are potent allosteric modulators of GABAA receptor function in the central nervous system. This review will describe what is known about neurosteroid modulation of the HPA axis in response to both acute and chronic stress, particularly with respect to the current state of our knowledge of this process in humans. Implications of this research to the development of human stress-related illness are discussed in the context of two human stress-related psychiatric disorders - major depressive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Neurosteroid-mediated HPA axis dysregulation is a potential pathophysiologic mechanism which may cross traditional psychiatric diagnostic classifications. Future research directions are identified.Psychopharmacology 04/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00213-014-3572-8 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Background: Previous studies have identified a number of psychosocial risk factors of dysregulated cortisol (frequently referred to as the "stress hormone") among older adults with depression. However, these studies have typically only examined a handful of risk factors at a time and have sometimes yielded inconsistent results. Method: This study aims to address this gap in the literature by simultaneously examining a range of relevant psychosocial predictors of diurnal cortisol among 54 older adults with a depressive disorder. Salivary cortisol was assessed upon awakening, at 5 PM, and at 9 PM across two consecutive days. Participants also completed measures of global psychosocial stress, current psychiatric symptomatology, pervasive distress (e.g. history of past depression), and protective factors (e.g. social support, resiliency, extent to which one has "made sense" of a significant stressor). Results: High levels of current depressive symptoms, psychiatric comorbidities, past depressive episodes, trait anxiety, and poorer ability to make sense of one's stress were found to be associated with flatter (more abnormal) cortisol slopes. However, when all of these variables were entered simultaneously in a multiple regression analysis, only history of past depression and the degree of sense made of stress emerged as unique predictors of cortisol in the model. Conclusions: These findings have important implications for identifying depressed elderly individuals with dysregulated cortisol patterns who may be most at risk for health complications. Treatments that aim to limit the chronicity of depression and help to increase the sense made of stress could potentially have a positive impact on health.International Psychogeriatrics 04/2014; 26(9):1-9. DOI:10.1017/S1041610214000489 · 1.89 Impact Factor