Hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenocortical function in mixed and pure mania

A. C. Swann, P. E. Stokes, R. Casper, S. K. Secunda, C. L. Bowden, N. Berman, M. M. Katz, E. Robins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


There is little information about hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenocortical (HPA) axis function in mania, particularly in mixed states. We therefore investigated HPA function and its relationship to clinical state in 19 hospitalized manic patients meeting Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia ‐ Research Diagnostic Criteria for acute manic episodes, compared patients with and without a mixed presentation, and examined correlations between HPA activity and behavior. Data were available from 13–16 patients. Behavioral and biochemical analyses were conducted during a 15‐d placebo period. Patients with mania had elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and urinary free cortisol excretion compared with healthy subjects, and did not differ from depressed patients in any cortisol measures. Mixed manics had significantly higher morning plasma cortisol, postdexamethasone plasma cortisol and CSF cortisol than pure manics. Five of 7 mixed manics and 3 of 9 pure manics were dexamethasone suppression test (DST) nonsuppressors. Afternoon plasma cortisol and CSF cortisol correlated significantly with depressed mood; urinary free cortisol correlated with anxiety. None of the cortisol measures correlated with mania or agitation scores. These data suggest that increased cortisol secretion is a characteristic of the depressed state in mixed manics, although pure manics may also have increased DST nonsuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-274
Number of pages5
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • affective disorder
  • cortisol
  • dexamethasone suppression test
  • mania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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