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Somatodendritic 5-hydroxytryptamine1A (5-HT1A) autoreceptor function in major depression as assessed using the shift in electroencephalographic frequency spectrum with buspirone

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hamish McAllister-WilliamsORCiD, Dr Hamid Alhaj, Dr Ursula Reckermann


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BackgroundPositron emission tomography and post-mortem studies of the number of somatodendritic 5-hydroxytryptamine(1A) (5-HT1A) autoreceptors in raphe nuclei have found both increases and decreases in depression. However, recent genetic studies suggest they may be increased in number and/or function. The current study examined the effect of buspirone on the electroencephalographic (EEG) centroid frequency, a putative index of somatodendritic 5-HT1A receptor functional status, in a cohort of medication-free depressed patients and controls.MethodA total of 15 depressed patients (nine male) and intelligence quotient (IQ)-, gender- and age-matched healthy controls had resting EEG recorded from 29 scalp electrodes prior to and 30, 60 and 90min after oral buspirone (30mg) administration. The effect of buspirone on somatodendritic 5-HT1A receptors was assessed by calculating the EEG centroid frequency between 6 and 10.5Hz. The effect of buspirone on postsynaptic 5-HT1A receptors was assessed by measuring plasma growth hormone, prolactin and cortisol concentrations.ResultsAnalysis of variance revealed a significantly greater effect of buspirone on the EEG centroid frequency in patients compared with controls (F1,28=6.55, p=0.016). There was no significant difference in the neuroendocrine responses between the two groups.ConclusionsThese findings are consistent with an increase in the functional status of somatodendritic, but not postsynaptic, 5-HT1A autoreceptors, in medication-free depressed patients in line with hypotheses based on genetic data. This increase in functional status would be hypothesized to lead to an increase in serotonergic negative feedback, and hence decreased release of 5-HT at raphe projection sites, in depressed patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McAllister-Williams RH, Alhaj HA, Massey A, Pankiv J, Reckermann U

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychological Medicine

Year: 2014

Volume: 44

Issue: 4

Pages: 767-777

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 01/07/2013

Acceptance date: 21/05/2013

ISSN (print): 0033-2917

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8978

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0033291713001475


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Funder referenceFunder name
G108/335UK Medical Research Council