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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00213-005-0062-z

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date

10/2005

Volume

182

Pages

54 - 57

Keywords

Adult, Circadian Rhythm, Cushing Syndrome, Depressive Disorder, Major, Female, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Male, Middle Aged, Reference Values, Saliva, Secretory Rate, Wakefulness