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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nocturnal growth hormone secretion studies in adolescents with or without major depression re-examined: integration of adult clinical follow-up data.

BACKGROUND: Early sleep is associated with an increased secretion of human growth hormone (GH) through muscarinic inhibition of somatostatin, a GH suppressant. A clinical follow-up was performed approximately 1 decade after depressed and psychiatrically "normal" control adolescents, who were now young adults, had undergone baseline serial GH measurements over a 24-hour period on the third night of sleep polysomnography studies. METHODS: The study population consisted of 77 young adults who had received a diagnosis of adolescent major depressive disorder and had participated in the adolescent sleep and neuroendocrine studies. Alternatively, the young adult subjects were assessed as normal adolescent control subjects free of any psychiatric diagnosis. Blood samples had been collected for GH every 20 min during the 24-hour period coinciding with the third consecutive night of sleep electroencephalography. Subjects, now in young adulthood, were relocated and blindly reinterviewed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (lifetime version). The original adolescent nocturnal GH data were analyzed in light of the information obtained regarding clinical course into adulthood. RESULTS: A substantial proportion of the nominally normal control group developed at least one episode of major depression or dysthymia during the follow-up period. "Latent" depressive subjects differed from depression-free control subjects by having exhibited a significantly more rapid increase of adolescent nocturnal GH secretion following sleep onset. Of the subjects who had experienced at least one lifetime major depressive episode during the follow-up, the subgroup who would go on to make suicide attempts secreted significantly greater amounts of GH during the first 4 hours of sleep. Adults with lifetime depression exhibited significantly reduced levels of GH in the 100 min preceding sleep onset during adolescence. CONCLUSIONS: Assignment of subjects based on longitudinal clinical follow-up into adulthood revealed that the sleep-related GH secretion paradigm has predictive value for future depressive episodes and future suicide attempts. Dysfunction of complex sleep-onset mechanisms may be a premorbid marker of depression and suicidal behavior.[1]


  1. Nocturnal growth hormone secretion studies in adolescents with or without major depression re-examined: integration of adult clinical follow-up data. Coplan, J.D., Wolk, S.I., Goetz, R.R., Ryan, N.D., Dahl, R.E., Mann, J.J., Weissman, M.M. Biol. Psychiatry (2000) [Pubmed]
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