Decreased uptake of 5-hydroxytryptamine in blood platelets from depressed patients


THE search for biological aberrations in affective disorders has been intensified within the last few years1. Special attention has been given to the changes in the metabolites of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and of catecholamines in the cerebrospinal fluid2. In this laboratory3 as well as in several others4,5 the blood platelet has been used as an easily obtainable model of 5-HT neurones. Studies on the storage, metabolism and uptake of 5-HT in various neurological and mental illnesses have been largely negative1,6,7 except in Down's syndrome8–10. Neither in schizophrenia6 nor in affective illness7 have any changes been found. By using low substrate concentrations and measuring the initial uptake rate, both the uptake kinetics in platelets and the inhibitory potencies of antidepressant drugs were recently shown to correlate well with those found in synaptosomes11. It was therefore of considerable interest to examine the kinetics of 5-HT uptake anew, in the platelets of certain psychiatric patients, notably those with manic-depressive illness. This report indicates that in the platelets of depressed patients the uptake of 5-HT is clearly decreased.

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