Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Elevation of the cortisol-dehydroepiandrosterone ratio in drug-free depressed patients

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Allan Young, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Dr Richard Porter


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Objective: Elevated basal cortisol levels are a feature of depressive illness and cause deficits in learning and memory. The adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) has antiglucocorticoid properties that may offer protection against the deleterious effects of cortisol. The authors examined the ratio of cortisol to DHEA in drug-free depressed patients and a matched comparison group. Method: Cortisol and DHEA were measured in saliva samples from 39 patients with unipolar depression who had been medication free for at least 6 weeks and 41 healthy comparison subjects. Results: The molar cortisol-DHEA ratio was significantly higher in the depressed patients than in the healthy comparison subjects. Cortisol-DHEA ratios from saliva samples taken at 8:00 p.m. correlated positively with length of current depressive episode. Conclusions: Elevated cortisol-DHEA ratios may be a state marker of depressive illness and may contribute to the associated deficits in learning and memory. Administration of DHEA or other antiglucocorticoid treatments may reduce neurocognitive deficits in major depression.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gallagher P; Young AH; Porter RJ

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: American Journal of Psychiatry: Summer Meeting of the British Association for Psychopharmacology

Year of Conference: 2002

Pages: 1237-1239

ISSN: 0002-953X

Publisher: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.7.1237

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 15357228