Growth Hormone Secretion in Depression
> 5/1/2013 10:52:42 AM



Diurnal Hypersecretion of Growth Hormone in



-Author Affiliations

  1. Department of Psychiatry, Erasme Hospital Brussels, Belgium
  2. Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, Erasme Hospital Brussels, Belgium
  3. The Department of Endocrinology U.L.B., Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637
  4. Thyroid Study Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637
  1. Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Prof. Julien Mendlewicz, Department of Psychiatry, Erasme Hospital, 808 Route de Lennik, 1070 Brussels, Belgium.


A 24-h profile of plasma GH concentrations was obtained together with polygraphic recordings of sleep in 16 men suffering from a major depressive disorder (8 unipolar and 8 bipolar) and in 8 age- and sex-matched normal men. None of the patients had any physical illness. All were studied after a drug-free period of at least 15 days. Blood was sampled every 15 min. The amount of GH released in every significant secretory spike was estimated using a computer program.

Both unipolar and bipolar depressed patients secreted more GH than normal men (mean ± SD, 441 ± 189 µg/24 h for unipolar depressed men; 357 ± 143 µg/24 h for bipolar depressed men vs. 172 ± 101 µg/24 h for normal men (P < 0.01). This hypersecretion occurred during waking hours rather than during sleep. The increase in daytime GH release was more marked in unipolar depressed patients. During sleep, depressed patients and normal men secreted similar amounts of GH despite an overall reduction in slow wave stages in depressed patients. An early sleep GH increase was found in all but one of the normal men, but was absent in seven of the eight unipolar depressed patients, who had, instead, a presleep increase in between 2100–0000 h. No consistent disturbance of the temporal association between sleep onset and GH secretion was found in bipolar depressed patients.

  • Received June 28, 1984.

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