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Study of the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis and Its Role in Major Depression

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00001479
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : December 10, 2002
Last Update Posted : March 4, 2008
Sponsor:
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Tracking Information
First Submitted Date November 3, 1999
First Posted Date December 10, 2002
Last Update Posted Date March 4, 2008
Study Start Date January 1995
Primary Completion Date Not Provided
Current Primary Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Primary Outcome Measures Not Provided
Change History Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00001479 on ClinicalTrials.gov Archive Site
Current Secondary Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Secondary Outcome Measures Not Provided
Current Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
Original Other Pre-specified Outcome Measures Not Provided
 
Descriptive Information
Brief Title Study of the Hypothalmic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis and Its Role in Major Depression
Official Title Intensively Sampled Dynamics of ACTH and Cortisol Affective Disorders
Brief Summary

Major depression represents a major public health problem worldwide and in the U.S. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population has depression at some point in life (40 million individuals). The condition is more common in women, occurring at a female to male ratio of 5:2. Presently, 6-8% of all outpatients in primary care meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression. Fifteen percent of untreated patients with depression will commit suicide. Most of the people committing suicide are depressed. Researchers believe that by the year 2020 suicide will be the 10th most common cause of death in the U.S.

In addition to mortality due to suicide, depression is also associated with other severe health conditions. Areas of the brain (hippocampus) begin to deteriorate, heart disease, and decreased bone mineral density (osteoporosis) are all associated with major depression.

Researchers have believed for years that hormones controlled by the hypothalmus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland (commonly referred to as the HPA axis or system) are in some way associated with psychiatric illnesses like depression.

According to previous studies, researchers have theorized that increased activity of the HPA axis is associated with depressed patients with typical melancholic features. Melancholia refers to the feelings of anhedonia (absence of pleasure from activites that would normally be thought of as pleasurable), insomnia (inability to sleep), guilt, and psychomotor changes. On the other hand a decrease in activity of the HPA axis may be associated with the atypical features of depression.

This study has already developed and refined studies that have improved the understanding of the HPA axis in healthy humans and depressed patients. Researchers have already identified and plan to continue identifying distinct subtypes of depressive disorders based on the activity of the HPA axis.

Detailed Description Major depression represents a major public health problem worldwide and in the U.S. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population has depression at some point in life (40 million individuals), with a female to male ratio 5:2. Presently, 6-8% of all outpatients in primary care meet diagnostic criteria for major depression. Fifteen percent of untreated depressed patients commit suicide-most suicides have depression. In the U.S., in the year 2020 suicide will be the 10th cause of death. In addition to mortality due to suicide, major depression is associated with severe morbidity, that includes decreased hippocampal volume, cardiovascular illness, and decreased bone mineral density. Moreover, after myocardial infarction, patients with depression have a higher mortality rate than those without depression (adjusted risk ratio 4:29). Because such morbidity can be differentially affected either by increased or decreased levels of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function, it is necessary to study HPA function in our populations. Additionally, based on our previous data, we have hypothesized that depressed patients with melancholic features would have increase HPA function, while those with atypical features would have decreased HPA function. Using this protocol, over the past four years we have developed, refined, and repeatedly conducted detailed patient-oriented studies that have expanded the frontiers of existing knowledge on HPA regulation in healthy humans and depressed subjects. This protocol has already demonstrated the existence of two distinct biological subtypes of major depression, with the important finding of a decrement of HPA function in patients with atypical features. Thus, the atypical classification is not restricted to phenotype but represents a subtype with specific biological characteristics. This finding shows that there are unique strategies, targets, and potential interventional approaches to patients with either atypical or melancholic features. The elucidation of the neuroendocrinology of major depression has been a key goal of our branch, and this protocol offers the potential to unravel the biology of phenotypically distinct subtypes of major depression. Moreover, the elucidation of the medical consequences of major depression requires the precise longitudinal characterization of HPA function that is accomplished by this study.
Study Type Observational
Study Design Not Provided
Target Follow-Up Duration Not Provided
Biospecimen Not Provided
Sampling Method Not Provided
Study Population Not Provided
Condition
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic
  • Healthy
  • Mood Disorders
Intervention Not Provided
Study Groups/Cohorts Not Provided
Publications *

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
 
Recruitment Information
Recruitment Status Completed
Enrollment
 (submitted: June¬†23,¬†2005)
60
Original Enrollment Same as current
Study Completion Date May 2000
Primary Completion Date Not Provided
Eligibility Criteria

Patients with primary affective disorder (major depression), chronic fatigue syndrome, and control subjects.

Psychiatric diagnosis will be made by means of the Structured Clinical Diagnosis for DSM-III-R (SCID), performed by senior experienced clinicians.

Exclusion Criteria:

Subjects on chronic medications, which can not be washed out in one month.

Subjects with any serious medical illnesses which have been excluded.

Women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or sexually active and not using effective contraception.

Patients with HIV-1 infection.

Patients on chronic lithium therapy.

Subjects unable to discontinue alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs.

Sex/Gender
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Ages Child, Adult, Older Adult
Accepts Healthy Volunteers Yes
Contacts Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Listed Location Countries United States
Removed Location Countries  
 
Administrative Information
NCT Number NCT00001479
Other Study ID Numbers 950044
95-M-0044
Has Data Monitoring Committee Not Provided
U.S. FDA-regulated Product Not Provided
IPD Sharing Statement Not Provided
Responsible Party Not Provided
Study Sponsor National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Collaborators Not Provided
Investigators Not Provided
PRS Account National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Verification Date June 1999