Clinical data on the role of serotonin in the mechanism(s) of action of antidepressant drugs

L. H. Price, D. S. Charney, P. L. Delgado, W. K. Goodman, J. H. Krystal, S. W. Woods, G. R. Heninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In view of evidence that brain serotonin (5-HT) function is abnormal in depression, the ability to alter 5-HT function has been studied as a mechanism of antidepressant drug action. In preclinical studies, antidepressants had significant effects on 5-HT receptor sensitivity. In the clinical setting, the pharmacologic challenge paradigm has generated interest as a means of studying 5-HT function. Most frequently used in these studies has been intravenous L-tryptophan (L-TRP), which increases serum prolactin (PRL). The authors review the neuroendocrine effects of intravenous L-TRP in depression and other conditions, as well as the effects of thymoleptic drugs on the PRL response to L-TRP. Findings are discussed in light of recent evidence that experimentally reduced plasma TRP can reverse the therapeutic effects of some antidepressants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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