Objective: Previous studies show a state-dependent relationship between depression and post-dexamethasone suppression test (DST) cortisol level, as well as differences in DST response with age and gender. Method: In this study, 74 research in-patients with affective disorders were given the DST on placebo and in a subgroup following treatment with carbamazepine. Depression was evaluated twice daily with the Bunney-Hamburg (BH) rating scale. Data were examined for the total subject population, by gender and by menopausal status in women. Results: A robust positive correlation was observed between depression severity and post-DST cortisol in pre- and postmenopausal females, but not in males. This relationship persisted in women when restudied on a stable dose of carbamazepine (n = 42). Conclusion: The pathophysiological implications of this selective positive relationship between severity of depression and post-DST cortisol in women, but not men, should be explored further.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health