Journal article

Serotonin versus catecholamine deficiency: behavioral and neural effects of experimental depletion in remitted depression


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  • 2015
Published in:
  • Translational Psychiatry. - Heidelberg : Springer Nature. - 2015, vol. 5, p. 1-9
English Despite immense efforts into development of new antidepressant drugs, the increases of serotoninergic and catecholaminergic neurotransmission have remained the two major pharmacodynamic principles of current drug treatments for depression. Consequently, psychopathological or biological markers that predict response to drugs that selectively increase serotonin and/or catecholamine neurotransmission hold the potential to optimize the prescriber’s selection among currently available treatment options. The aim of this study was to elucidate the differential symptomatology and neurophysiology in response to reductions in serotonergic versus catecholaminergic neurotransmission in subjects at high risk of depression recurrence. Using identical
neuroimaging procedures with [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography after tryptophan depletion (TD) and catecholamine depletion (CD), subjects with remitted depression were compared with healthy controls in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Although TD induced significantly more depressed mood, sadness and hopelessness than CD, CD induced more inactivity, concentration difficulties, lassitude and somatic anxiety than TD. CD specifically increased glucose metabolism in the bilateral ventral striatum and decreased glucose metabolism in the bilateral orbitofrontal cortex, whereas TD specifically increased metabolism in the right prefrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. Although we found direct associations between changes in brain metabolism and induced depressive symptoms following CD, the relationship between neural activity and symptoms was less clear after TD. In conclusion, this study showed that serotonin and catecholamines have common and differential roles in the pathophysiology of depression.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Master en médecine
  • English
Pathology, clinical medicine
Open access status
Persistent URL

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