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Biochemical correlates of depression

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The monoamine theory of depression proposes that serotonin and noradrenalin function are reduced in depression.

The evidence is indirect but there are four main findings:

  • levels of the metabolite of serotonin (5HIAA) are reduced in the CSF of patients with depression
  • post-mortem studies of patients dying with depression show reduced levels of serotonin
  • neurendocrine functions mediated by serotonin are suppressed in depression
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are effective antidepressant drugs

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