Endocrine Test Predicts Antidepressant Response: Drop in Prolactin Secretion Is a Good Sign. (Dopaminergic Tone May Be Key)

By Sherman, Carl | Clinical Psychiatry News, December 2001 | Go to article overview

Endocrine Test Predicts Antidepressant Response: Drop in Prolactin Secretion Is a Good Sign. (Dopaminergic Tone May Be Key)


Sherman, Carl, Clinical Psychiatry News


MADRID -- Blunted pituitary response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone, as indicated by reduced prolactin secretion, predicts a good response to antidepressant therapy, Dr. Fabrice Duval said in a poster presentation at the World Psychiatric Association International Congress 2001.

A normal prolactin response to the test, which was associated with poor treatment outcome in a small study, might reflect decreased dopaminergic tone and suggest an effective adjunctive strategy, said Dr. Duval of the Research Center for Applied Neuroscience in Psychiatry, Rouffach, France.

Earlier studies of the predictive value of endocrine tests in depression--specifically, thyrotropin and prolactin response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone--have yielded conflicting data. In part, this could reflect the customary practice of administering such tests in the morning; for chronobiological reasons, results are more closely linked to depression status when the test is administered late in the day, Dr. Duval said.

The current study recorded the response to TRH at 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. among 63 untreated, euthyroid patients with major depressive disorder, as indicated by Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores of 18 or above. These were compared with test results of 50 normal volunteers. Patients were subsequently treated with a tricyclic antidepressant (23) or either of two serotonergic drugs (40). …

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