Increased salivary cortisol after waking in depression.
Bhagwagar Z., Hafizi S., Cowen PJ.
RATIONALE: Cortisol hypersecretion is regarded as important in the pathophysiology of major depression. However, recent studies in community-based samples have been inconclusive. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether acutely depressed, medication-free subjects show an exaggerated release of cortisol in saliva in relation to awakening. METHODS: We studied the pattern of waking salivary cortisol in 20 unmedicated acutely depressed subjects and 40 healthy controls. RESULTS: In both groups, salivary cortisol increased rapidly after waking, peaking at 30 min. Overall, patients with acute depression secreted approximately 25% more cortisol than controls, though 60 min after waking, their cortisol levels were similar. CONCLUSIONS: Depressed patients in the community appear to have increased early morning cortisol secretion, but the demonstration of this effect requires control for time of waking.