Catecholamines and Mood: Neuroendocrine Aspects

  • N. Matussek
Part of the Current Topics in Neuroendocrinology book series (CT NEUROENDOCRI, volume 8)


The results of pharmacological-clinical studies in humans, e.g. those using psy- chomotor stimulants and other substances, leave no doubt that catecholamin- ergic neurons in the brain are involved in mood regulation. However, according to present knowledge, we have to remember that, given the close connections between the different neurotransmitter systems and the influence of diverse hormones on these systems, it is not possible to determine which brain process is finally responsible for the feelings of sadness, depression and happiness, for example, and their conscious perception. Bearing in mind these restrictions, I will attempt in this article to reveal the relations of the three catecholaminergic systems — the dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA) and adrenaline system — with regard to some aspects of neuroendocrinology and mood. We know today that dys- regulation in many hormone systems, such as thyroid, adrenal cortex and gonads, may lead to mood swings (Bleuler 1979) and that in the regulation mechanisms of these hormones the catecholamines are markedly involved (Fuxe et al. 1979 a; Tuomisto and Männisto 1985). But on the other hand, thyroid (Kunos 1981), ke- tosteroid and sex hormones (Motulsky and Insel 1982) have strong influence on different catecholaminergic neurotransmitter systems. Since hypercortisolism and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) are reviewed in separate chapters in this volume, I will concentrate mainly on catecholamine challenge tests, especially in relation to growth hormone (GH), but also with some results concerning cor- tisol and prolactin. I will restrict myself to neuroendocrine tests in connection with the different types of depression since they are especially suitable for investigating these aspects of mood swings. For excellent reviews of this topic see also Checkley and Arendt (1984), Terry (1984), and Siever and Davis (1985).


Growth Hormone Growth Hormone Response Dexamethasone Suppression Test Trait Marker Endogenous Depressive 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Matussek
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatric HospitalUniversitiy of MunichMunich 2Germany

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