Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Effects of acute tryptophan depletion on mood and suicidal ideation in bipolar patients symptomatically stable on lithium

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Hughes, Professor Allan Young


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


Background. Previous studies suggest that brain serotonin neurotransmission may mediate the actions of lithium carbonate. Acute-tryptophan depletion reduces brain serotonin and allows the study of this neurotransmitter in patient groups. Aims: To examine the effects of acute tryptophan depletion on mood and suicidal ideation in bipolar patients who were symptomatically stable on lithium. Method. Nineteen subjects satisfying DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder participated in a within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled random-order crossover study. Symptoms were evaluated following acute tryptophan depletion, which was induced by a 100 g amino acid drink following an overnight fast. Results: Plasma tryptophan fell significantly after the depleting drink, but not after the control drink (P < 0.05, paired t-test, mean reduction 83%). No significant changes in mood or suicidality scores were recorded after acute tryptophan depletion. Conclusions. Acute tryptophan depletion does not reverse lithium's effects on mood and suicidality in bipolar disorder. Declaration of interest. Funded by the Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young AH; Hughes JH; Dunne F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2000

Volume: 177

Pages: 447-451

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 0007-1250

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465

Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists


DOI: 10.1192/bjp.177.5.447

PubMed id: 11059999


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric