Neuroendocrine strategies in affective disorders
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Neuroendocrine strategies in affective disorders have explored both resting values of hormones and hormonal responses to stimuli such as hypoglycemia, TRH, LHRH, dexamethasone, methadone and morphine. The abnormalities established to date have involved growth hormone, cortisol and TSH responses in particular. Prolactin has not been investigated to the same extent. We therefore describe several prolactin studies exemplifying selected neuroendocrine strategies. Our studies of prolactin responses included acute cases of either primary or secondary depression, stabilized bipolar patients, and healthy controls both off and on lithium. We found prolactin response to hypoglycemia significantly reduced in primary but not secondary depressions. Lithium administration led to flattened prolactin responses to hypoglycemia in stabilized bipolar patients but not in healthy controls. The flattened response in patients was observed already after 3 weeks of lithium, and remained flattened after years of treatment. The findings suggest a greater degree of prolactin response reduction in those patients showing most pronounced stability on lithium treatment.
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