Neurochemistry of Depression

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Serotonin (5-HT)
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-A dysfunctional serotonergic system may play a role in depression -While depression medications increase levels of serotonin, this does not mean that low levels of serotonin cause depression -Low levels of 5-HIAA of depressed patients -Reduced platelet serotonin transport sites in depressed patients -Serotonin-depletion diets (tryptophan-free diets) promote depressive symptoms in patients currently taking SSRIs -Efficacy of SSRIs -SSRI-induced alterations in specific serotonergic receptor sensitivity
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Norepinephrine
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-Norepinephrine-deficient diet promotes symptoms of depression in patients on norepinephrine uptake blockers -Efficacy of norepinephrine uptake blockers -Catecholamine hypothesis – depression results from a deficiency of NE whereas mania results from an abundance of NE -Turnover rates in dopamine, not in NE, seemed to be a stronger predictor of the severity of depression
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Corticosteroids
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-Hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex by the adrenal cortex during stress. These neurochemicals influence the brain and are thought to be a trigger for depressive symptoms. Some drugs targeted at reducing corticosteroids reduce the symptoms of depression. -Increased levels of corticosteroids in depressed patients -Reduced CPH-binding sites in suicidal victims -Intensity of depressed patients to dexamethasone test -Preliminary efficacy of anti-CRH antidepressants

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