Effects of sleep deprivation on serotonin function in depression

Ronald M. Salomon, Pedro L. Delgado, Julio Licinio, John H. Krystal, George R. Heninger, Dennis S. Charney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


There is considerable evidence that antidepressant treatments enhance serotonin (5-HT) function. In order to evaluate whether sleep deprivation (SD) produces alterations in 5-HT function, the increase in prolactin (PRL) produced by intravenous tryptophan (TRP) was assessed in depressed patients following SD and undisturbed sleep (US). Eleven depressed patients received mood ratings and TRP infusions after either SD or US, 1 week apart. In five women, but not six men, the TRP-induced PRL rise was markedly enhanced after SD compared to US. Mood score changes were not significantly different between US and SD and there was no significant relationship of mood changes to the TRP induced PRL response. The data suggests that SD produces an increase in 5HT function in female depressed patients. The lack of identified SD-induced changes in 5-HT function in men may be due to lower sensitivity of the TRP-induced PRL rise in depressed men than women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-846
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1994


  • Antidepressant treatment
  • depression
  • prolactin
  • serotonin
  • sleep deprivation
  • tryptophan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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