Cortisol secretion in endogenous depression. I. Basal plasma levels.
ABSTRACT Plasma levels of cortisol were sampled for 24 hours in 32 endogenously depressed (ED) patients and 72 normal controls who also underwent the dexamethasone suppression test. The ED patients had significantly higher mean 24-hour plasma levels of cortisol (means 24h PC). However, means 24h PC values of subjects in both groups were normally distributed, with a marked overlap between the two. Only seven ED patients had means 24h PC values higher than 2 SDs from the normal mean (greater than 10 micrograms/dL). An abnormal dexamethasone suppression test result was only partially related to basal cortisol levels. The mean plasma level of cortisol between 1 and 4 PM was found to be highly correlated with the means 24h PC value in ED patients, as has been previously reported in normal subjects and patients with various other diseases (in which it also powerfully discriminated between hypersecretors and normosecretors). This finding supports the use of mean cortisol levels between 1 and 4 PM as a reliable and convenient indication of cortisol secretion.
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Chapter: Psychosis and Adhesion MoleculesMental Illnesses - Understanding, Prediction and Control, 01/2012; , ISBN: 978-953-307-662-1
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ABSTRACT: The prevalence of major depression has increased in recent decades; however, the underlying causes of this phenomenon remain unspecified. One environmental change that has coincided with elevated rates of depression is increased exposure to artificial light at night. Shift workers and others chronically exposed to light at night are at increased risk of mood disorders, suggesting that nighttime illumination may influence brain mechanisms mediating affect. We tested the hypothesis that exposure to dim light at night may impact affective responses and alter morphology of hippocampal neurons. Ovariectomized adult female Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) were housed for 8 weeks in either a light/dark cycle (LD) or a light/dim light cycle (DM), and then behavior was assayed. DM-hamsters displayed more depression-like responses in the forced swim and the sucrose anhedonia tests compared with LD-hamsters. Conversely, in the elevated plus maze DM-hamsters reduced anxiety-like behaviors. Brains from the same animals were processed using the Golgi-Cox method and hippocampal neurons within CA1, CA3, and the dentate gyrus were analyzed for morphological characteristics. In CA1, DM-hamsters significantly reduced dendritic spine density on both apical and basilar dendrites, an effect which was not mediated by baseline cortisol, as concentrations were equivalent between groups. These results demonstrate dim light at night is sufficient to reduce synaptic spine connections to CA1. Importantly, the present results suggest that night-time low level illumination, comparable to levels that are pervasive in North America and Europe, may contribute to the increasing prevalence of mood disorders.Psychoneuroendocrinology 02/2011; 36(7):1062-9. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.01.004 · 5.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Peer victimization in the form of bullying is a chronic social stressor experienced by many humans during development. Exposure to bullying has been associated with a variety of mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Participants pre-selected for the presence or absence of a history of being bullied were brought into a laboratory and placed in a stressful situation. Blood pressure, heart rate, and salivary cortisol levels were measured before the introduction of the stressor (Time 1), at the end of the stressor (Time 2), and after its removal (Time 3). Men with a history of exposure to frequent bullying showed blunted blood pressure responses at Time 2 compared to control men. Bullied and Non-bullied women did not show any differences in any of the measures. Men and women in both groups showed an increase in heart rate in response to the stressor. There were no significant differences in salivary cortisol levels between Bullied and Non-bullied participants. However, salivary cortisol levels and systolic blood pressure were lower in Bullied male participants who reported having no feelings of anger about their experience compared to controls and those who did report anger. These data show altered sympathetic responses to stress in men with a history of victimization as well as suggesting long-term effects on the HPA axis in the most affected individuals.Physiology & Behavior 12/2008; DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.09.001 · 3.03 Impact Factor