Serotonin activity in psychotic (delusional) major depression

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry


October 1992

Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Delusions; Depressive Disorder; Dopamine; Humans; Serotonin




Psychotic (delusional) major depression is a distinct syndrome with marked morbidity. Previous studies have emphasized the role that glucocorticoids and dopamine may play in the pathogenesis of the disorder as well as in its response to treatment. In addition to reviewing data on these two systems, the possible role serotonin (5-HT) may play is also reviewed. Studies indicate increased 5-HT reuptake into platelets and elevated cerebrospinal fluid levels of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) are found in patients with this disorder. In addition, amoxapine, a four-ringed antidepressant with 5-HT2 antagonistic properties, has been reported to be effective in treating patients with this disorder. The implications of these findings vis-a-vis a role for serotonin in delusional major depression are discussed. Future studies on serotonin as well as on 5-HT2 antagonists in delusional depression are warranted.

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Citation: J Clin Psychiatry. 1992 Oct;53 Suppl:52-5.

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