Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Hughes,
Professor Allan Young
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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.
Author(s): Young AH; Hughes JH; Dunne F
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry
Print publication date: 01/01/2000
ISSN (print): 0007-1250
ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
PubMed id: 11059999
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