Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 7, P751-757, July 1985

The relationships of historically defined subtypes of depression to ACTH and cortisol levels in depression: Preliminary study

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      A family history of depression (but no alcoholism), a history of bipolarity, and a history of nonsuppressor status on the Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) have all been positively associated with each other in previous studies. We divided depressives into three mutually exclusive groups, using the three historical parameters described above. Group A included those who were nonsuppressors at index. Group B included normal suppressors at index who met one of the following three criteria: (1) past history of a nonsuppressing DST, (2) past history of a mania, and (3) family history of depression (but no alcoholism). The remaining suppressors at index made up Group C. We found that Groups A and B show a phase advance (an earlier nadir) in the predexamethasone circadian curve for cortisol. Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) varies in part (but not solely) with cortisol and may separate the groups.
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